The Saint Joan of Myrrh Church in Kharkiv was heavily damaged during the shelling of the city. (photo by Emmanuel Durand; all images courtesy Getty)

As Russia escalates its war on Ukraine, with intensifying attacks on the nation’s infrastructure, the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles has pledged $1 million toward the conservation of Ukrainian cultural heritage. The commitment was made possible by a grant from the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH)’s Ukraine Action Plan.

The Getty’s grant will not go toward the removal of at-risk artifacts from the country but rather provide for their safe storage within Ukraine: funding on-site conservation and the protection of monuments; paying for packing and storing works of art and upgrading their storage sites; and supporting salaries of Ukrainian cultural heritage professionals.

ALIPH’s Ukraine Action Plan has packed and stored the collections of over 160 museums, libraries, and archives. It has also monetarily supported 125 cultural heritage professionals and used satellite imagery to document cultural sites for future restoration. One of those projects comprises 3D imaging of cultural heritage in Lviv, which has been heavily bombarded by Russian troops.

As of November 7, UNESCO confirmed damage to 213 Ukrainian cultural heritage sites, including the Ivankiv Museum, the 16th century Holy Mountains Lavra monastery, and last month, a group of academic institutions and museums in the center of Kyiv.

“The ongoing need to protect cultural heritage in Ukraine has become even more urgent in recent weeks, as attacks in the region are increasing and the onset of winter is creating additional risks,” said Executive Director of ALIPH Valéry Freland.

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Elaine Velie

Elaine Velie is a writer from New Hampshire living in Brooklyn. She studied Art History and Russian at Middlebury College and is interested in art's role in history, culture, and politics.