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Ukraine Says Russia Looted Historic Gold Artifacts From a Museum

“For what objective, nobody is aware of,” he mentioned. “However thanks to those folks and the operational work carried out, residents of town of Melitopol — and never solely Melitopol — will have the ability to observe once more a big assortment of Scythian gold.” He didn’t say when or the place the artifacts could be displayed.

Ms. Ibrahimova, who spoke by telephone, sounded despondent as she spoke concerning the Russian invaders.

“Possibly tradition is the enemy for them,” she mentioned. “They mentioned that Ukraine has no state, no historical past. They only need to destroy our nation. I hope they won’t succeed.”

Scythian gold has monumental symbolic worth in Ukraine. Different collections of the artifacts had been saved in vaults within the capital, Kyiv, earlier than the struggle broke out. However Ms. Ibrahimova mentioned occasions unfolded too quick for her museum to spirit out their assortment.

For years now, Ukraine has been locked in a complicated dispute with Russia over collections of Scythian gold that a number of museums in Crimea had lent to a museum in Amsterdam. After Russia seized Crimea in 2014, Ukraine pleaded with the Amsterdam museum to not return the gold. Russia demanded the museum just do that. A court docket has dominated in Ukraine’s favor and the gold stays in Amsterdam.

However historians mentioned the looting of the artifacts in Melitopol is an much more egregious try and acceptable, and maybe destroy, Ukraine’s cultural heritage.

“The Russians are making a struggle with out guidelines,” mentioned Oleksandr Symonenko, a fellow of Ukraine’s Archaeology Institute and a Scythian specialist. “This isn’t a struggle. It’s destroying our life, our nature, our tradition, our business, every little thing. It is a crime.”

The caretaker who refused to assist the Russians was launched on Wednesday after the gold was stolen. However on Friday she was taken away from her home at gunpoint once more, Ms. Ibrahimova mentioned, shortly after the mayor, who can be in exile, introduced the theft.

She has not been heard from since.

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