The United Nations’ cultural agency decided Wednesday to add the historic center of Ukraine’s Black Sea port city of Odesa to its list of endangered World Heritage sites, recognizing “the outstanding universal value of the site and the duty of all humanity to protect it,” AP reports.
The decision was made at an extraordinary session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Paris.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay praised the move, saying the “legendary port that has left its mark in cinema, literature and the arts” was “thus placed under the reinforced protection of the international community.”
“While the war is going on, this inscription embodies our collective determination to ensure that this city … is preserved from further destruction,” Azoulay added in a statement.
Russian forces have launched multiple artillery attacks and airstrikes on Odesa since invading Ukraine 11 months ago.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on UNESCO in October to put Odesa on its World Heritage List, which recognizes places of “outstanding universal value.” The World Heritage Committee agreed Wednesday while also adding the city’s historic center to its list of endangered sites.
Changes to the text proposed by Russia delayed the 21-member committee’s vote. In the end, six delegates voted in favor, one voted no and 14 abstained.
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