The heritage of cooking borsch soup in Ukraine is listed as "endangered" by UNESCO on Friday yet opposed by Moscow.
Ukraine considers borsch – a thick nourishing soup usually made with beetroot – as a national dish although it is also widely consumed in Russia, other ex-Soviet countries, and Poland.
The culture of Ukrainian borsch cooking "was today inscribed on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding" by a UNESCO committee.
The decision was approved after a fast-track process prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the "negative impact on this tradition" caused by the war, UNESCO said.
Kyiv hailed the move, with Ukraine's Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko saying on Telegram that "victory in the borsch war is ours ... will win both in the war of borsch and in this war."
Adding the soup culture to the UNESCO list aims to mobilize attention to ensure it is preserved despite risks to its existence.
The committee noted that the war had "threatened the viability" of the soup culture in Ukraine.
"The displacement of people (poses a threat) ... as people are unable not only to cook or grow local vegetables for borsch but also to come together ... which undermines the social and cultural well-being of communities."
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova had slammed the move in a bid to make it belong to "one people ... one nationality ... This is xenophobia," she said.
But UNESCO noted that Ukrainian borsch was just a version of a dish popular elsewhere and was essential to daily life in the country.
"Ukrainian borsch – the national version of borscht consumed in several countries of the region – is an integral part of Ukrainian family and community life," Daily Sabah reports.
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