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