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Russia destructs Georgia’s cultural heritage

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, January 12
Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on Russian to stop the destruction of cultural monuments in the Georgia’s occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

The Ministry reported, based on Russian and Abkhaz media, claims that on January 3, Russian occupation forces destroyed the multilayer archaeological and architectural monument in the Gulripshi village of Tsebelda in Abkhazia, the ruins of a church and also a mid-XX century Polish cemetery.

The Ministry called on the international community, UNESCO and other international organizations to assess the “illegal actions of Russia”.

"The Georgian Foreign Ministry condemns another act of destruction of historical and cultural heritage by the occupying force and regards it as an act against the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“The Ministry calls on the Russian Federation to stop damaging and destructing cultural monuments in the occupied territories. These illegal activities once again refer to the gravest military and humanitarian situation in the occupied territories,” the Ministry stated.

The Foreign Ministry reminded Russia that the “intentional damage” to cultural heritage represents a violation of the international humanitarian law, in particular the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, as well as UNESCO Declaration concerning Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has also called on international community to give an adequate assessment to the ‘deliberate act of vandalism’.

The President condemned the destruction, claiming it was solely for the purpose of constructing a military base.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Sputnik news reported Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied any military construction project in Tsebelda.