Ukraine ready to send experts to Sarajevo to examine 300-year-old icon from Luhansk

Milorad Dodik (right). Collage from Facebook, Balkan Observer 

Culture, International, Ukraine

During a meeting in Sarajevo with Bosnia and Herzegovina Foreign Minister Bisera Turković, Ambassador of Ukraine Vasyl Kyrylych announced that Ukraine was ready to send experts who would examine the 300-year-old icon, which had been taken from occupied Luhansk and presented to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in December 2020.

During the meeting, Kyrylych underlined that Ukraine had never given official permission for the export of any icon. Therefore, the presence of Ukrainian experts is would be advisable and Bosnia and Herzegovina specialists could assist in the investigation, added Kyrylych.

Backgrounder

On December 14, 2020, one of the members of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, presented an old Ukrainian icon to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which was immediately identified as an ancient Ukrainian artifact.

Bosnian Serb Chairman Dodik presents Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov with 300-year-old Ukrainian icon

A note from the Ukrainian embassy to the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that it was a 300-year-old Ukrainian icon from Luhansk. The icon bears a seal of the Ukrainian People’s Committee of Culture of 1920.

The head of the Republika Srpska Army Veterans Association said the icon was taken from occupied Donbas in 2018 and transported to Serbia via the Russian Federation. Foreign Minister Lavrov promptly returned the icon to BiH.

Milorad Dodik first stated that he would return the icon to the persons, from whom he had received it, but not to Ukraine. Somewhat later, he agreed to return it to Ukraine if Kyiv could prove that the icon had been listed as ‘missing’ and that state authorities had never ceased searching for it.

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