Ukraine confiscates “largest” collection of antiquities in its history

Ukraine on Friday announced the confiscation of the “largest” collection of antiquities in its history, works allegedly stolen from museums in Russia’s annexed Crimea peninsula before falling into the hands of private collectors.

“More than 6,000 antiques, including swords, sabers, helmets, amphorae and coins” were found in a raid by Ukrainian police, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova told a conference press.

The value of the collection is “estimated at several million dollars,” she added.


On this occasion, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office invited journalists to the Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv to explain the details of the operation and to present some of the confiscated items in passing.

According to Ms. Venediktova, in an office in the Ukrainian capital, works from the Bronze Age and the Middle Ages were found “in conditions far removed from reasonable conditions for the preservation of such objects”.

The prosecutor explained that a raid was carried out as part of an investigation into the “illegal activities” of a former Ukrainian MP who was also a senior official in Crimea.

According to her, part of the collection was “possibly stolen” from museums in Crimea.



Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskiï said it was a “unique” discovery after “thirteen searches in five days”. “The objects found in these premises were taken away in two trucks,” he told the press.

Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkatchenko, who was also present at the press conference, was pleased that “the largest illegal collection in the history of Ukraine (…) has been returned to the state”.

“During the war, we win back what (Russian President) Vladimir Putin is fighting against: our identity, our culture and our cultural heritage,” the minister said.

Ms. Venediktova also pointed out that her office is currently investigating “the theft of a gold collection from the Scythians by the (Russian) invaders” – a people of nomadic horsemen who were in Crimea in particular several hundred years before Jesus Christ. on display in a museum in Melitopol, a city in southern Ukraine currently occupied by the Russian army.

She also accused Russian authorities of “looting” Crimea’s museums, which Moscow annexed in 2014. “Russia is trying not only to kill our state, to kill our nation, but also to steal our history,” Ms. Venediktova was outraged.

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