The Polish Committee of the Blue Shield has been supporting efforts to protect Ukrainian cultural heritage from the threat of Russian military aggression. In response to ICOMOS Poland’s proposal to combine efforts to rebuild Ukraine’s destroyed cultural heritage, and with the support of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Committee has been working in conjunction with other Polish cultural institutions to help secure Ukrainian monuments.
This is being carried out by POLINKA, the National Institute of Polish Cultural Heritage Abroad, among other organisations, in consultation with Ukrainian institutions in Lviv, Kamieniec Podolski, Drohobycz and Berdyczów. While POLINKA is trying to secure cultural property across western Ukraine, particular attention has been given to Lviv due to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Institute of National Heritage, in cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Foundation and municipal conservators of monuments, has collected equipment to protect cultural property. As the priority is to protect objects and monuments from fire or a shock wave after an explosion, the equipment includes powder and foam extinguishers, fire blankets, non-flammable blankets, and non-flammable fabrics. The transportation of this equipment to Ukraine has been organised by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Materials to protect works of art in the event of an evacuation have also been sent to the National Gallery of Art in Lviv from the National Museum in Poznań.
In addition to BS Poland’s ongoing support for cultural institutions in Ukraine, the President of the Committee, Krysztof Sałaciński, has joined a special task force established by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage to monitor and analyse the threats to cultural heritage posed by Russia’s military aggression.
The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage emphasises the importance of direct aid to Ukraine and supports the appeal of the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tkachenko, to impose sanctions on Russia in the field of culture to limit its international activity in this sector. To formalise the call for sanctions, a declaration was signed on 28th February by the Ministers of Culture of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine to commit to all possible efforts to exclude Russia from international organisations, committees, and programmes.
Blue Shield Poland continues to support the efforts to protect Ukrainian cultural property from the threat of Russian aggression.