29 January 2021, 10:51
Icon presented to Lavrov in Sarajevo century old, not 3 centuries - preliminary appraisal by Ukrainian museum
Kiev, January 29, Interfax - Ukraine's Ministry of Culture and Information Policy has not yet confirmed that an icon presented to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina last December is three centuries old and comes from Lugansk.
"We have a preliminary appraisal from the National Art Museum, which dates this icon to the early 20th century. And the question as to where exactly this artifact was taken from is now being studied by law enforcement agencies as part of an open criminal case," the ministry's press service said on Thursday.
As reported earlier, on December 15, 2020, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov paid a working visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik gifted a gilded 18th-century icon to him.
It emerged on December 18 that the Ukrainian embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina had sent a note to Sarajevo, demanding that the 300-year-old icon, allegedly originating in Lugansk, be returned. Kiev claims that it is part of "Ukraine's cultural heritage."
Subsequently, Russia handed over the icon to the embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Moscow in agreement with the donator, at the same time recommending that the available legal mechanisms be launched to establish all circumstances of the matter, including the origin of the aforementioned artifact.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy also said that it was continuing to research the icon's provenance and was ready "to dispatch specialists for an in-person appraisal of the artifact" to authenticate it and establish what school of icon painting it is from and when it was painted.
"If the Bosnian side isn't ready to send this icon to Ukraine for appraisal, then we demand access be given to Ukrainian specialists in Bosnia and Herzegovina," the ministry said.
It stressed that, because it had not issued a certificate for the removal of the artifact abroad, its owner must provide documentation confirming their right of ownership or a document confirming its legal removal from Ukraine.