Conflicts & War

Ukrainians denied from their heritage on Monuments Day

By Carles Grau Sivera

Kyiv, Apr 18 (EFE).- Sculptures of prominent figures that were one of Kyiv’s main tourist attractions have been covered with sacks of sand and walls to protect them from Russian attacks, preventing Ukrainians from even appreciating their shape.

In central Kyiv, a polymath statue of Taras Shevchenko is hidden behind thick concrete walls to protect them amid attacks on the outskirts of the capital.

“This is the monument to Shevchenko, the father of the nation,” Marina told Efe as she went for a stroll with her husband in central Kyiv.

“It is very strange for us not to see the statue, but taking into account the situation, we understand it,” the 67-year-old added.

After the war broke out nearly two months ago, authorities and volunteers buried the city’s most precious heritage under walls and sandbags, with the aim of protecting the statues from an eventual attack.

“Our independence cannot be preserved if our culture and heritage are taken away from us,” her husband, Oleg, told Efe.

According to Unesco, nearly a hundred cultural sites have been damaged or destroyed across Ukraine by the war.

At Kyiv’s St Michael Monastery plaza, a statue of St Olga is also hidden under dozens of sandbags.

“It is important to preserve our cultural heritage because Russia is trying to rewrite our history by destroying monuments throughout Ukraine, here in Kyiv we will try to keep them safe,” Yevgenia told Efe.

For her it is “painful to see these monuments covered” because “millions of tourists came to enjoy Ukrainian culture and in Kyiv, there are many spectacular monuments”.

Near the monastery is one of the icons of the Ukrainian capital: the 169-year-old statue of Vladimir the Great, considered the oldest in Kyiv.

Concrete walls have been erected to properly protect the 20-meter-high bronze statue.

“It is very sad, there is no joy in seeing our heritage covered… But it is necessary to protect it,” Viktor, 59, lamented.

“I think it’s going to be covered for a long time,” he added while staring at the statue. EFE


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