Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Ukraine’s ancient sculptures under threat: Evacuation of Polovtsian statues from Donetsk’s frontlines goes on

In a risky operation, volunteers and soldiers extract the sculptures from their buried, concrete-bound state in Donetsk.
The Polovtsian statues. Source: RFE/RL/Yulia Ratsibarska
Ukraine’s ancient sculptures under threat: Evacuation of Polovtsian statues from Donetsk’s frontlines goes on

One of the oldest pieces of art in the world dedicated to women’s beauty—Polovtsian stone statues—are being evacuated from the frontlines of Donetsk to the city of Dnipro, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Currently, the Yavornytsky National Historical Museum has given shelter to nine ancient sculptures from the combat zone. These artifacts are over 800 years old, and some of them were damaged by Russian attacks. Volunteers, with help from Ukrainian military personnel and concerned citizens, have carefully transported the statues from the constant shelling zone.

“We transported the first two statues mostly by ourselves using a car with a trailer. Soldiers assisted us, and we had to manually extract them from the ground as they were buried and set in concrete,” recalled volunteer Hryhorii.

Since March 2024, nine sculptures have been successfully evacuated to Dnipro.

“These are significant historical artifacts. There aren’t many left, so they need to be saved because they represent our history and identity,” the volunteer emphasized.

He believes it is crucial to retrieve artifacts from the “gray zone” and front-line territories. The ancient monuments have survived time, snow, and rain, but Russian shells will not pity them, Oleksandr Staryk, the Acting Director of the Dnipropetrovsk National Historical Museum, explained.

“If the enemy takes over these territories, they won’t need these monuments. On the contrary, they hinder them because they don’t fit into their historical ‘realities’ and myths, which they promote on the occupied territories.

They claim that these lands have always belonged to them and were Slavic territories related to their version of Kyivan Rus. If there were nomadic peoples here, if there were Polovtsians, they wouldn’t align with their myths,” the expert said.

The Historical Museum in Dnipro has the most extensive collection of ancient stone statues in Ukraine, with 104 statues, including 70 Polovtsian statues. The sculptures from front-line Donetsk are not included in this collection, as they are here for temporary storage. They will be returned home after the territories are liberated and demined.

Read more:

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Premium journalism from across Europe.
    • Tailored to your needs, translated into English.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!