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Russia is destroying Ukrainian cultural sites, says culture ministry

‘Putin wants to destroy Europe's heritage and culture’

Kharkiv apc A Russian armored personnel carrier burns in Kharkiv | AP

Ukraine’s minister of culture and information policy Oleksandr Tkachenko, on Friday, claimed that Russian forces are “destroying Ukrainian cultural sites” and called for closure of skies over Ukraine.

In a statement, the minister pointed out that most of Putin's war crimes in Ukraine have been committed from the air. "Russia's missiles and planes are deliberately destroying historic centers of big cities. Putin wants to destroy Europe's heritage and culture, wipe it from the face of the earth," the statement read, reports CNN.

He warned that Putin has threatened to destroy St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, a UNESCO church built in the 11th century.

Tkachenko pointed out that the price of a still opened sky over Ukraine is the loss of hundreds of lives and destruction of churches, cathedrals and museums.

The minister said Russian forces shelled the Assumption Cathedral in which people were hiding.

The minister, in the statement, said Russian forces also damaged the buildings of the Kharkiv National University of Arts, the museum of artist Maria Pryimachenko, whose works were even admired by Pablo Picasso,  and Kyiv State Academy of Decorative Arts and Design. "Russian missiles and planes vilely and dishonestly continue to bomb our beautiful peaceful cities. The world must stop this".

Ukraine is home to thousands of museums which has classical and Byzantine artefact, and works by Jacques-Louis David, Giovanni Bellini, and Francisco Goya. There are also world heritage sites, including St Sophia Cathedral.

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