First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska held a meeting with UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay. The meeting took place in Kyiv, in the St. Sophia of Kyiv National Reserve, with the participation of Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko and First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova.
The President's wife thanked Audrey Azoulay for supporting Ukraine in resisting Russian aggression, in particular for the positive decision of the World Heritage Committee on inscribing Odesa on the List of World Heritage in Danger (January 25, 2023).
"This decision, adopted during a full-scale war in Ukraine, when our historical and cultural heritage is one of the strategic goals for the aggressor country, will make it possible to protect the cultural heritage of Odesa and save it from the Russian invaders, who have repeatedly directed their missiles at the city," said the First Lady.
Olena Zelenska also welcomed the unblocking of the work of the World Heritage Committee and its release from the Russian presidency. The 45th session of the Committee will be held this year in Saudi Arabia in September.
"After your visit to Ukraine, you will better understand what we are fighting for, what we want to preserve and why it is important for us," said the First Lady, addressing Audrey Azoulay.
The President's wife noted the efforts made by UNESCO to monitor, assess and document the damage caused to the cultural heritage of Ukraine. These data will be used to collect evidence to bring the aggressor to justice, including international justice, for crimes against the cultural heritage of our country.
"We hope for support from UNESCO in the return of cultural values, which the attacker continues to steal and illegally remove from the occupied territories of Ukraine, grossly violating the Statute and conventions of UNESCO," said Olena Zelenska.
"Culture has no borders. The losses of one country impoverish the whole world. And what is preserved enriches and adds variety," the First Lady added.
She also emphasized the importance of UNESCO's assistance in restoring the education system of Ukraine.
"We are ready to continue our active work with UNESCO in the framework of a large project on socio-psychological assistance to Ukrainian children and teachers affected by the Russian Federation's war against Ukraine," the President's wife emphasized.