Kraków mayor urges UNESCO to relocate conference planned in Russia

In a letter published on the city of Kraków's website on Monday, Jacek Majchrowski urged all EU member states to change the venue of the UNESCO session planned for this June and to remove the representative of Russia from the position of chairman of the World Heritage Committee. Łukasz Gągulski/PAP

The mayor of the southern Polish city of Kraków has called on UNESCO not to organise the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in the Russian city of Kazan, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In early March, the Auschwitz Museum, located on the memorial site of the notorious World War Two Nazi German death camp, in southern Poland, made a similar appeal to UNESCO.

In a letter published on the city of Kraków's website on Monday, Jacek Majchrowski urged all EU member states to change the venue of the UNESCO session planned for this June and to remove the representative of Russia from the position of chairman of the World Heritage Committee.

The local government official argued that by starting a brutal war, Russia had violated the territorial integrity of another independent state.

Majchrowski wrote that "a deliberate destruction of heritage is a crime against humanity" and that Russia devastates historical sites, monuments, museums, theatres and building complexes, thereby "irretrievably destroying elements of Europe's heritage."

In his opinion, the UNESCO committee "should react firmly to Russia's invasion of Ukraine", by cancelling the session in the aggressor's country.