Kiev has welcomed the decision of UNESCO to recognise the borshch—that Russia also claims for its national dish—as Ukrainian cultural heritage.
The UN's cultural agency has inscribed the culture of cooking borshch soup in Ukraine on its list of endangered cultural heritage, in a move urged by Kiev but vehemently opposed by Moscow.
Ukraine considers borshch—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 borshch cooking "was today inscribed on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding" by a UNESCO committee on Friday.
The decision was approved after a fast-track process prompted by Russia's assault on Ukraine and the "negative impact on this tradition" caused by the conflict, UNESCO said.
Kiev hailed the move, with Ukraine's Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko saying on Telegram that "victory in the borshch war is ours...will win both in the war of borshch and in this war."
Adding the soup culture to the UNESCO list aims at mobilising attention to ensure it is preserved despite risks to its existence.
The committee noted that the conflict 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 borshch, 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 as a bid to make it belong to "one people... one nationality...This is xenophobia," she said.
But UNESCO noted that Ukrainian borshch was just a version of a dish popular elsewhere and was essential to daily life in the country.
"Ukrainian borshch—the national version of borscht consumed in several countries of the region—is an integral part of Ukrainian family and community life".