Russian troops in the occupied Ukrainian Kherson region took a collection of paintings from the Kherson Art Museum named after Oleksiy Shevkunenko and handed it over to a museum in the Russian-annexed Crimea, the museum’s management reports.

Paintings, including famous artists Ivan Pakhitonov, Piotr Sokolov, Leonid Chichkan and Mikhail Andriyenko-Nechitayl, were brought to the Tauriy Museum on trucks without identification marks in early November, the Kherson Art Museum reports.

“Exhibits of the Kherson Art Museum arrived at the Taurida Central Museum in Simferopol on a truck without license plates,” says the message of the Kherson Museum on Facebook.

The Taurida Central Museum in the Crimean capital of Simferopol confirmed the transfer of the works to The Moscow Times on Thursday.

“In connection with the introduction of martial law on the territory of the Kherson region, I am instructed to temporarily store the exhibits of the Kherson Art Museum and ensure their preservation until they are returned to the rightful owner,” said Andrei Malgin, director of the museum. said.

The Kherson Art Museum, located in the center of Kherson, has been closed since the capture of the city by Russian troops in the first days of the Russian invasion.

The looting, described by the museum as a “crime,” is the latest example of Russian forces taking important cultural artifacts out of Ukraine in what Kyiv says is a targeted campaign to destroy Ukrainian heritage.

“For three days now, Russian looters have been taking away all the paintings from there. They load them into their huge cars. Without any protection, without packaging, like garbage,” said one of the people of Kherson. resident told the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta last week, adding that the occupying Russian forces were “more careful with the stolen washing machines” than with the city’s artistic heritage.

In March, Kyiv accused Moscow of looting more than 2,000 works of art from Mariupol’s Kuindzhi Museum, named after local realist artist Arkhip Kuindzhi.

“[Russia] is trying to destroy everything related to our cultural heritage,” said Minister of Culture of Ukraine Alexander Tkachenko. Euronews last month, accusing Russian forces of destroying or seriously damaging about 500 museums and cultural institutions in Ukraine since the war began.

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