Since the start of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, many of the country’s national and cultural landmarks—including museums, religious buildings, and historic sites—have been under threat.
In fact, earlier this year, UNESCO confirmed damage to at least 53 such structures spread across several regions in the nation, despite having enacted emergency measures to protect these sites.
To further its efforts in restoring, locating, and protecting these critical treasures, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture’s National Research and Restoration Center (NRRC) has now partnered with Uber to create a custom-built version of the app.
Known as Uber Restore, the app will allow the NRRC to request 12-passenger vehicles to transport conservationists and specialized equipment needed for these “rescue missions” across the country at no cost at all.
According to the firm, the project began in May and has since been used to reach over a hundred locations. Uber’s cars have traveled over 20,000 km (12,400 miles) in total, protecting tens of thousands of artifacts and ushering them to safety.
“Uber’s collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy combined aspects of culture and logistics technology very effectively. Since the first days of war, Russia has been destroying Ukrainian cultural heritage,” said Oleksandr Tkachenko, Minister of Culture.
“Museums, places of worship, architectural landmarks were heavily damaged, many irreversibly. Colleagues from Uber offered us the necessary logistical support, such as cars, fuel, and drivers for checking the state of preservation of objects of the Museum Fund,” he added.
Apart from protecting the nation’s cultural heritage, Uber has offered support to Ukraine in other ways, such as by providing free transport for refugees, doctors, nurses, and local government workers across its cities and villages.
In addition, the ride-sharing firm partnered with the UN World Food Program to deliver emergency food relief to communities hit by the war, and expanded its essential transportation services to 12 more cities to offer more rides.