Vladimir Putin implemented martial law in four unlawfully acquired Ukrainian territories. Everything occurred on October 19. He also effectively legalised the theft of cultural property in Ukraine, by doing so.
Vladimir Putin Forcibly Seized Control of Many Cultural Institutions
The imposition of martial law in Russia gives the nation the authority to “evacuate” objects with economic, social, and cultural significance. Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk are the four regions specified in Putin’s decree.
However, looting takes place in the occupied Ukrainian territories, now for months. Russian troops forcibly seized control of Kherson’s Shovkunenko Regional Art Museum. Also, numerous other institutions in the four annexed regions could suffer a similar fate. This also includes the Donetsk Republican Art Museum, and the Luhansk Art Museum.
In Kherson, occupants also demolished monuments of Russian military heroes from the 18th century. Those heroes are Aleksandr Suvorov, Fyodor Ushakov, and Vasily Margelov. Also, the Russian military demolished a 21st-century reproduction of an 1823 statue representing Prince Grigory Potemkin.
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The prince facilitated the Crimean takeover from the Turks in 1783. Additionally, soldiers removed Potemkin’s remains from Kherson’s St. Catherine’s Cathedral. They transported them deep into Russian-occupied territory.
“The evacuation of Crimean museums is a war crime” – Ukrainian Culture Minister
The “evacuation” of Crimean museums would be regarded as a “war crime”, the Ukrainian ministry of culture said on October 15. “Mass removal of cultural values from the territory of Ukraine by the Russian occupiers will be comparable to the looting of museums during World War II, and should be qualified accordingly”, the ministry’s statement said.
He also talked about the violations of the international law that Russia made. “The actions of the Russian Federation are a violation of the international law. Any seizure, destruction or wilful damage to religious, charitable, educational, artistic and scientific institutions, historical monuments, works of art and science is prohibited and should be subject to prosecution.”
Ukraine asked for help from UNESCO and other international partners. The country asked for not cooperating with the aggressor and their museums. Also, they asked for the prevention of any future violations of the international law.
A top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, stated on Twitter that the declaration of martial law is a “pseudo-legalization of plunder of Ukrainians’ property.”
“This does not change anything for Ukraine”, Podolyak wrote. “We continue the liberation of our territories.”