MOSCOW, April 9. /TASS/. The museum exhibits that were undergoing customs inspection on the Finnish border have crossed into Russia, the Russian Culture Ministry said on Saturday.
"Three vehicles carrying Russian paintings have crossed the Finnish-Russian border and are on their way to St. Petersburg and Moscow," the press service said.
The ministry added that one of the trucks would head for St. Petersburg carrying the art objects which had been on loan from the State Hermitage Museum and the museum preserves Pavlosk, Gatchina and Tsarskoye Selo to Italy. The other two vehicles will bring the paintings, which had been on loan in Italy, to Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery and Museum of Oriental Art, and also some items, which had been on loan in Japan, to Moscow’s Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.
The Culture Ministry thanked the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian embassy to Finland and the Federal Customs Service for their "invaluable support in resolving the issue of the return of the Russian paintings."
The shipments of Russian art were seized at the Finnish border crossing of Vaalimaa on April 3. The Finnish customs officials called on the European Commission for clarifications. Later, the European Commission said that the art objects that are on loan from Russian museums to institutions in European countries are exempt from the sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia.