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Amsterdam court’s ruling on Scythian gold politically motivated and disputable — expert

Ivan Kuzmin reminded that the gold had been discovered in Crimea in 1964, what meant that it belonged to the former Soviet Union

MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. The ruling of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal that the Scythian gold collection is to be handed over to Ukraine is politically motivated and disputable from the point of view of international law, Ivan Kuzmin, an attorney specializing in international arbitration disputes, told TASS on Tuesday.

"It should be borne in mind that the necropolis where the gold originated from was discovered in Crimea’s Bakhchisarai district in 1964. It means that everything it held belonged to the former Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia declared itself its successor, including on matters of property and cultural heritage. All other Soviet republics, including Ukraine, agreed to it. So, it is obvious that Russia has more rights to this collection than Ukraine," he said, adding that the court ruling was largely motivated by the "current political situation."

"Russia has the right to challenge it and this opportunity should be used," he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ruled that the Scythian Gold collection should be handed over to Ukraine. The presiding judge, Pauline Hofmeijer-Rutten said the artifacts in question were part of Ukraine's cultural heritage and must be handed over to the Ukrainian side.

The Scythian Gold is a collection of more than 2,000 items that were put on display at an exhibition at the Allard Pierson Museum of the University of Amsterdam in February 2014 when Crimea was still part of Ukraine. Uncertainty over the collection's future emerged when Crimea reunited with Russia in March 2014. Crimea’s museums and Ukraine both laid claim to the collection. The University of Amsterdam, which oversees the Allard Pierson Museum's activities, put the handover procedure on hold until either the dispute was legally resolved or the parties came to terms.

Meanwhile, according to Head of the Working Group for International Legal Issues of Crimea's Permanent Mission at the Russian Presidential Office, Alexander Molokhov, a cassation appeal to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands against the Amsterdam court's decision on the Scythian gold case will be filed in the near future.