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Biden says Putin is trying to destroy Ukrainian culture and identity

President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin was not only trying to take control of Ukraine, but was also “trying to literally erase the culture and identity of the Ukrainian people.” Attacking schools, nurseries, hospitals, museums, with no other objective than to eliminate a culture.”

The Russian military’s frequent targeting of Ukrainian cultural sites appears to be “systematic”, according to a US official, the Washington Examiner reported.

Michael Carpenter, the United States Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said: “Looking at this as a layman, I see a degree of systematicity in these crimes, but it will be for the experts. We’ll let them decide – they’re going to be independent. They’ll make their own decisions.

Russian forces struck churches, cultural sites and a museum dedicated to 18th-century philosopher and poet Hryhoriy Skovoroda, who was not close to military operations at the time, Carpenter said, believing the attack was either deliberate or an error. Hitting these places is a war crime under the 1954 Hague Convention.

Ukraine is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, and since the Russians launched their invasion, at least 39 monuments across the country have been damaged, looted or reduced to rubble, according to the Center for Transatlantic Dialogue, a Ukrainian non-profit political organization based in Kyiv, NBC reported.

The Russian military appears to be targeting cultural heritage sites in addition to homes, hospitals and schools. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization reported on June 8 that Russia had damaged 65 religious sites, 27 historic buildings, 17 buildings dedicated to cultural activities, 15 monuments, 12 museums and seven libraries since its invasion on February 24. The Washington Examiner reported.

Russian forces shelled non-military areas from long range, NBC reported.

Russia’s military tactics have made it harder to determine whether landmarks are specifically targeted or whether the damage is a byproduct of attacks on the civilian population, according to NBC.

Ukrainians are banding together to protect their monuments, NBC reported. Peter Voitsekhovsky, an analyst at the nonprofit US-Ukraine Foundation, said residents of Odessa had piled sandbags around the city’s famous 19th-century opera house and the iconic statue of the founder of Odessa. ‘Odessa, the Duke of Richelieu. Voitsekhovsky said that for Odessans, the statue of Richelieu has the same meaning as the Statue of Liberty for Americans.

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