In 2014 the terrorist country of Russia started its war on Ukraine. Over the last year of full-scale aggression alone, more than 60 museums have been damaged or destroyed. In the occupied territories, Russian marauders in military uniforms have looted more than 100,000 artifacts from Ukraine's museum collections.
A large number of museum buildings and their collections remain under the threat of artillery and rocket attacks, air strikes, and the risk of irreparable damage due to the destroyed civilian and energy infrastructure and the lack of proper storage and security conditions.
Because of the war, a large number of museum professionals were forced to relocate within and outside the country. Many museum workers joined the army, sacrificing their lives to defend their country.
At the same time, museum professionals organized themselves to protect their collections, demonstrating high levels of resistance and heroism.
The civilized world came to Ukraine's aid in protecting our cultural heritage, including collections from museums. International donors and organizations have made Ukrainian museums more resilient to threats by providing them with the necessary materials, equipment, and financial assistance.
At the same time, many efforts have been made to impose sanctions on Russian museum institutions and organizations, which have not expressed any condemnation of their government's destruction of Ukraine's museum sector.
In addition, museum workers were able to create the Red List of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) for Ukraine, which will help stop the illegal export of cultural property.
Museum workers have begun documenting losses and damage to prepare for the restoration of destroyed buildings and damaged collections, as well as recording crimes against culture to bring war criminals to justice.
The war brought the world's attention to Ukraine, and Museum workers took this opportunity to promote our history and culture by organizing exhibition projects, and cultural and educational programs, as well as creating the opportunity to share experiences and improve their knowledge and skills by participating in forums, conferences, workshops, and discussions.
Today, the response to threats and destruction of museums is coordinated horizontally and vertically. Museum assistance initiatives and networks have been created, such as the Heritage Emergency Response Initiative, the Museum Crisis Center, the Blue Shield of Ukraine, the Center for Saving Cultural Heritage, the initiative "Museum for Change" and other initiatives and volunteers, which cooperate with international organizations, foundations, and the expert community.
However, support for the Ukrainian museum sector remains relevant. First of all, it is necessary to support people, museum workers who had to leave their cities (and their museums) to save their lives and museum collections, and those who are fighting for the viability of their museums on the ground. But we also need to respond promptly to challenges, take preventive action to preserve and restore what has been destroyed or damaged, and return what has been stolen. All of us, state institutions, museums, citizens and international community, fight for this common cause.
Therefore, this day is an opportunity to express gratitude to Ukrainian museums for their resilience, and to international organizations and museums for their unwavering support of Ukraine, for increasing the capacity of Ukraine's cultural sphere on the way to its victory and integration into the world community.