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Verkhovna Rada asks Dutch MPs to help in return of disputed Scythian gold to Ukraine

May 12, 2015, 19:19 UTC+3 KIEV
The Scythian gold exhibits were put on view at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam as part of the "Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea" exhibition in February 2014
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© EPA/BART MAAT

KIEV, May 12. /TASS/. Ukraine’s parliament has appealed to the parliament of the Netherlands for assistance in the return to Ukraine of Scythian gold, also claimed by Crimea where it had been stored before traveling to the Netherlands to be put on display in Amsterdam.

With 249 votes in favour of the resolution, well above the minimum 226 required, the Verkhovna Rada asked the Dutch parliament "to pay due attention to the issue of the return of Ukrainian cultural values to their owner, the people of Ukraine, in compliance with rules of international law".

The Ukrainian parliament noted that the deadline for all permissions authorizing their stay in the Netherlands legally had expired. The document said the return of exhibits to Crimean museums, where they had been stored, would be seen "as de-facto recognition of Crimea as a territorial entity of the Russian Federation".

The Scythian gold exhibits were put on view at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam as part of the "Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea" exhibition in February 2014. About 2,000 exhibits were loaned by a museum in Kiev and four museums in Crimea, which was part of Ukraine at the time when the items were consigned to the Netherlands. They included pieces of goldsmithery, weapons and household appliances revealing the rich history of the Crimean peninsula.

The collection of unique exhibits was supposed to have returned home after the exhibition’s closure on August 31.

The problem emerged after Crimea’s reunification with Russia in the March 16 referendum. Both Russia and Ukraine have been claiming the right to the exhibits loaned by the Crimean museums. That is why the University of Amsterdam’s Allard Pierson Museum suspended the artifacts’ handover until a legal solution was found to the dispute.

The Kiev-owned exhibits returned to Kiev in September 2014.

In November 2014, four Crimean museums (the Tavrida Central Museum, the Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve, the Bakhchisaray Historical and Cultural Reserve and the Khersones Tavrichesky National Reserve) filed a lawsuit to the University of Amsterdam demanding a return of the Scythian gold collection to Crimea.

The Crimean museums have stressed it many times that they have the right to claim the collection back because all the exhibits were found in the peninsula’s territory and stored in Crimean museums.

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