Returning cultural property stolen by Russia may take years, – Ministry of Culture

Returning cultural property stolen by Russia may take years, – Ministry of Culture - фото 1
During the full-scale war, the Russians have taken tens of thousands of cultural property items, including icons. Returning them can take years, and the exact number of missing items will not be known until later.

According to "Ukrinform", Kateryna Chueva, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, has announced this information.

Currently, efforts are underway to determine the number of cultural objects taken out of Ukraine by Russia, particularly in areas that have been liberated from occupation. Preliminary estimates indicate that tens of thousands of items from the state museum fund have been displaced.

Chueva stated that determining the exact amount stolen by Russia is a challenging and time-consuming process. This is due to the fact that the Russians took not only art objects but also documentation, which has complicated the restoration process. As Chueva emphasized, this work requires great care and attention to detail, given the large size of the collections involved. The Ministry of Culture is also uncertain about the timeline for the return of all cultural artifacts taken from Ukraine.

"Even if we know exactly where all these items are located, and there is no voluntary return, legal proceedings could take a very long time, possibly years. Hopefully, it won't take decades," explained Chueva.

Nearly 1,300 cultural infrastructure facilities in Ukraine were damaged or destroyed during the full-scale Russian invasion. Among the casualties was the Kherson Art Museum, which lost more than 13,000 works and objects to theft by the Russians. The stolen collection includes paintings and icons dating from the XVIII to XX centuries, with the iconography being a particular gem of the museum.