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Spain detains smugglers of Ukraine’s historic artifacts worth over USD 63 mln

One of the items from the collection of “Scythian Gold.” Photo:
Spain detains smugglers of Ukraine’s historic artifacts worth over USD 63 mln

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and Spanish police arrested a group of smugglers in Madrid, including a representative of the Russian-linked church of the Moscow Patriarchate which had stolen golden artifacts from Ukraine and attempted to sell them in Europe. 

During the operation, police identified 11 items of valuable Scythian gold produced by tribes in Central Asia and Eastern Europe in the 8th to 4th centuries BCE worth over $63,5 mln – earrings, a necklace, and a pectoral taken by the criminal group. 

According to the SBU, the smugglers illegally exported artifacts from Ukraine to the European Union in 2014-2020. Later, they tried to “legalize” the stolen cultural values by forging purchases from foreign buyers with the aim of their further resale on a black market.

Currently, police are trying to establish from which Ukrainian cities Scythian artifacts were stolen as the investigation is underway. 

Earlier, the President’s Office said that the ancient reserve museum of Chersonesos Taurica in occupied Crimea was looted by Russian forces.

Russians looted Byzantine gold from the Chersonesos Museum in Crimea

The occupiers plundered the museum, including artifacts such as ancient bone, clay, and other material works, falsely claiming to transport them to an exhibition on Byzantine gold in Veliky Novgorod.

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