Today, on November 28, some artifacts from the collection “Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea” were presented at the Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine. They have been returned to Ukraine from the Netherlands.
The presentation was attended by the Acting Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine Rostyslav Karandieiev, the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova, the Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine Iryna Mudra, and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ukraine Jennes de Mol.
“The ‘Scythian Gold’ is the most valuable Ukrainian collection that russia failed to appropriate. The collection has already been cleared through customs in Ukraine. Our diplomats, lawyers, representatives of the cultural sphere, law enforcement officers, and intelligence services have conducted extensive work to return these values. The 565 items that have been returned will be added to the collection. We believe that after the return of Crimea, these artifacts will come back home. We are grateful to the global community, which stands in solidarity with Ukraine. Thanks to everyone involved in this mission – the return of Ukrainian culture. Thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine, and everyone who was part of the unified team working towards this result. The return of the collection rightfully belonging to Ukraine should mark the beginning of the restitution of artifacts unlawfully taken by russia and part of the future reparations of the aggressor country,” said the Acting Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Rostyslav Karandieiev.
The collection comprises values from four Crimean museums: the Central Museum of Taurida, the Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve, the National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, and the Bakhchisarai Historical and Cultural Reserve.
“I congratulate all of us on this victory. For me, it is an extraordinary honor as I participated in all court hearings. The Ukrainian delegation was strongly represented by museum experts. Attempts were made to accuse us of politicizing the process. In the end, the court’s decision was in favor of Ukraine. Today, we all lack this justice, and it is our fight for justice. This case teaches us that if we don’t stop aggression, it will escalate. Justice must be restored, and russia must be held accountable. Today is a historic moment because we feel the victory. And victory will be ours,” emphasized the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emine Dzhaparova.
The legal battles for the values from four museums in Crimea lasted for almost 10 years. Until the de-occupation of Crimea, the “Scythian Gold” will be temporarily stored in the Treasury of the Museum on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
“The national cultural heritage has returned to its owner. Since 2014, Ukraine has been holding the defense front and advancing on the legal front. This case, this decision, is significant in terms of establishing legal facts. Despite russia’s absurd arguments, the fact was established that russia wanted to assert that Ukraine’s sovereignty does not extend to the territory of Ukraine. As a result, we have a decision that testifies that Crimea is Ukraine. Thanks to the joint work of all authorities, we have achieved a decision in our favor. Sincere gratitude to the Netherlands for their consistent support of Ukraine,”noted Deputy Minister of Justice Iryna Mudra.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ukraine, Jennes de Mol, emphasized that the return of the collection is a sign of the independence of the Dutch judicial system, which has undergone lengthy trials.
“Ukraine has a legitimate interest in protecting its cultural heritage, so the District Court of Amsterdam applied the legal norms of the Hague Convention and the UNESCO Convention. And here we are. The Crimean values have been returned to Ukraine without hindrance. I hope that in the foreseeable future, these artifacts will return to Ukrainian Crimea”.
Rostyslav Karandieiev, together with the authorized representative of the Museum, opened one of the boxes and showcased a part of the collection. The collection will be fully exhibited soon.