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Expel Russia from UNESCO

UNESCO has condemned Russia’s recent attacks on Odesa, noting that they took place just two weeks after the strike that destroyed a historic building in Lviv. But it should go further, expelling Russia for as long as the Kremlin continues its criminal behavior.

ANCHORAGE – Russian President Vladimir Putin has been particularly angry lately, and the Ukrainian port city of Odesa has been suffering the consequences. In the Kremlin’s neo-imperial view, Odesa has long been a symbol of the Russian character of Ukraine’s south, because its initial development was led by Catherine the Great. Last year, Putin himself described it as “one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” with “wonderful traditions and history.” But for Putin’s criminal regime, nothing is sacred.

His fury became apparent on July 17, when he terminated the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a United Nations-backed agreement, signed in July 2022, that enabled Ukraine to export wheat, barley, and other foods from the Port of Odesa, as well as the ports of Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi. The notion that Putin has any say over Ukraine’s ability to export goods that it produces, on its own ships, from its own ports is absurd. But he gets away with it by threatening to behave even more criminally than he already has: the northwestern Black Sea, Russia’s foreign ministry has declared, is “dangerous” again.

That same day, Putin began to rain bombs on Odesa. The missile and drone attacks initially targeted grain terminals and other port facilities, resulting in major economic losses, including the destruction of 60,000 tons of grain. Russian strikes have also been directed at several buildings on Pereulok Nakhimova, a lovely lane located at the end of a fabulous six-mile-long (ten kilometers) tree-lined promenade, often enjoyed by local cyclists like me. From here, Kanatna street – where the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin often visited his friend Ivan Blaramberg – leads to the heart of the city.