Kyslytsya at UNSC: culture Kremlin’s primary target in bid to destroy Ukrainian identity

Kyslytsya at UNSC: culture Kremlin’s primary target in bid to destroy Ukrainian identity

The Russian Federation considers Ukrainian culture and heritage to be the primary targets in its attempts to destroy Ukrainian identity, says Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, who spoke on Wednesday at a Security Council meeting to discuss the shelling of the historic center of Odesa and the port infrastructure.

This was reported by an Ukrinform correspondent in New York.

Kyslytsya explained that Moscow, using low-precision anti-ship missiles against ground targets, caused significant damage to the historic center of Odessa, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The missiles hit 29 historical and cultural monuments, including museums, religious and residential buildings.

In total, as a result of the strikes, nearly 50 buildings were destroyed and damaged, including four schools, five kindergartens, and two higher educational facilities.

The building of the Greek consulate was also damaged, and last week – the Chinese consulate.

Read also: Ukraine-NATO Council strongly condemns Russia's withdrawal from grain deal

"Ukrainian grain and other foodstuffs remain another target that Russia is trying to eliminate, not caring at all about the severe implications for global food security," the ambassador noted.

According to him, the Russian Federation may resort to attacks on civilian vessels and plant additional mines in the waters close to the Ukrainian coast.

"There are grounds to believe that Russia is preparing such incidents for the purposes of blaming Ukraine and discouraging vessels from other countries from entering Ukrainian waters and using Ukrainian ports," Kyslytsya explained.

He emphasized that the blockade of Ukrainian ports, destruction of their infrastructure, obstruction of grain export, as well as intimidation of foreign merchant vessels should be considered as an attack on freedom of navigation.

These actions are also aimed at removing a competitor from the market, deliberately increasing global food prices and profiting at the expense of millions around the world who will be affected, he added.

Read also: UNESCO mission to assess damage to cultural heritage objects in Odesa

Kyslytsya also drew the attention of members of the UNSC to the problem of the forced displacement of Ukrainian children from the occupied territories. They are "subject to anti-Ukrainian indoctrination and propaganda, aimed at instilling hatred towards Ukraine, its language, culture and history," said the ambassador.

In addition to being deportated to Russia and displaced within the occupied territories, children are also taken to Belarus. According to available information, since the outset of the invasion, more than 3,000 Ukrainian children have been deported from the temporarily occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions to Belarus under the guise of "health rehabilitation".

Kislytsya told the Security Council that earlier, the State Duma of the Russian Federation passed a law on raising the conscription age. The chairman of the Duma defense committee, General Andrey Kartapolov, a rapporteur on the bill, openly stated that “this law has been written for a big war, for general mobilization. And now this big war is already being felt.”

"Instead of seeking peace, they continue to dream of a big war where Ukraine would not be the sole target," Kyslytsya emphasized, rcalling that Ukraine - unlike Russia, which seeks a bigger war - seeks peace in line with the formula presented by President Volodymyr Zelenskyi.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, on Wednesday, the UN Security Council held two meetings on the situation in Ukraine: one at the request of Russia, about the alleged persecution of Russian Orthodoxy, and another – at the request of Ukraine, on the shelling of the historic center of Odesa and the city’s port infrastructure.

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