Russia disputes Dutch museum’s decision to keep Scythian artifacts

The Russian authorities are disputing the decision by Amsterdam’s Allard Pierson Museum to keep a collection of gold artifacts from Ukraine because of the dispute over Crimea.

A spokesman for the Russian culture ministry told news agency RIA Novosti the decision is unjustified from a legal standpoint. ‘According to the contracts and civil and international museum law standards, the exhibits should be returned to the museums where they were kept,’ the spokesman said.

The museum, part of the University of Amsterdam, is currently staging a show entitled ‘The Crimea – Gold and the secrets of the Black Sea’. It features what the museum says is ‘spectacular archaeological finds’ including gold items, a scabbard and a ceremonial helmet, and countless precious gems.

Five museums

The items have been loaned by five different Ukrainian museums, four of which are in Crimea. However, Russia’s annexation of Crimea has created a legal dispute between Moscow and Kiev about the treasures.

Russia says the items should be returned to the museums which loaned them but some in Ukraine say Kiev is the rightful owner.

Earlier this week, the museum said it would keep the collection until the complicated legal situation was sorted out. The exhibition ends on August 31.

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