UNESCO adds Ukraine World Heritage sites to 'in danger' list

A panel of the UN cultural agency UNESCO has recognized two World Heritage sites in Ukraine as being "in danger" and requiring protection. It said the sites face the threat of destruction posed by Russia's invasion of the country.

The decision came on Friday at a meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which is being held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The committee placed the two locations on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

One site is Kyiv's Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings and Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The other is the Ensemble of the Historic Centre in the western city of Lviv.

The committee said optimal conditions are no longer met to fully guarantee the protection of the properties and that they are in potential danger due to the war.

UNESCO officials say inclusion of a site on the list is usually based on problems with the preservation and management by the country where it is located. But they say they took into consideration special circumstances in Ukraine.

On Thursday, the committee discussed whether to put Venice and its Lagoon on the list of the World Heritage sites in danger. But UNESCO positively assessed the Italian government's attempts to address floods and mass tourism and decided not to add the Italian city to the list.