Disputed Ukrainian treasures returned to Kyiv after Dutch court ruling

FILE - A Scythian gold helmet from the fourth century B.C. is displayed as part of the exhibit called The Crimea - Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea, at Allard Pierson historical museum in Amsterdam on April 4, 2014. A valuable collection of historical treasures from Crimea that were stored for years at an Amsterdam museum amid an ownership dispute sparked by Russia's annexation of the peninsula has been safely transported to war-torn Ukraine, the museum announced Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

A Scythian gold helmet from the fourth century BCE is one of the disputed items returned to Ukraine from a Dutch museum.Peter Dejong/AP/FileCNN — 

A haul of Ukrainian treasures sent to Europe for an exhibition nearly 10 years ago have been returned to Kyiv from the Netherlands after a lengthy legal battle.

The collection of ancient artifacts was dispatched to the Netherlands from four museums in Crimea before Russia’s annexation of the region in 2014. But the annexation meant their return has not been straightforward.

FILE - A spiraling torque from the second century A.D., is displayed as part of the exhibit called The Crimea - Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea, at Allard Pierson historical museum in Amsterdam, on April 4, 2014. A valuable collection of historical treasures from Crimea that were stored for years at an Amsterdam museum amid an ownership dispute sparked by Russia's annexation of the peninsula has been safely transported to war-torn Ukraine, the museum announced Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

This spiraling torque from the second century CE had been in storage, together with the rest of the collection, for almost a decade.Peter Dejong/AP/File

“After almost 10 years of litigation, artifacts from four Crimean museums that were presented at the exhibition ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ in Amsterdam have returned to Ukraine,” the National Museum of History of Ukraine said in a statement.

The collection comprised 565 items, including antique sculptures, Scythian and Sarmatian jewelry, and Chinese lacquer boxes that are 2,000 years old, the museum said.

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Rostyslav Karandieiev, Ukraine’s acting minister of culture and information policy, described the treasures’ homecoming as “our great historical victory.”

“It is very important for us to save and protect our history, traditions, and heritage. This is what we are fighting for at the battlefield. We are fighting for our identity and freedom,” he told CNN.

“The exhibition in the Netherlands was showing the history of Ukrainian Crimea, therefore it is exclusively the people of Ukraine who should possess these treasures,” he added.

In a statement published on its website, the Allard Pierson museum in Amsterdam confirmed that the collection had been kept in storage while the legal dispute raged on over whether items should be returned to Ukraine or the four museums in Russian-controlled Crimea, with both sides claiming ownership rights over the historic pieces.

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Ultimately, the Supreme https://fokuslahlagi.com Court of the Netherlands ruled on June 9 of this year that the collection should be returned to Kyiv.

In its statement, the Allard Pierson museum went on to say that the items were “independently checked and carefully packed in accordance with museum rules” last month and arrived back in Kyiv on Sunday.

Els van der Plas, director of the museum, said in the statement: “This was a special case, in which cultural heritage became a victim of geopolitical developments. After it became clear in 2014 that the judge would consider the case, we focused on safely storing the artefacts until the time came to return them to their rightful owner. We are pleased that clarity has emerged and that they have now been returned.”

Welcoming the development, Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy said in a statement: “Until the de-occupation of Crimea, the ‘Scythian Gold’ will be temporarily stored on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.”

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