Russians loot Kherson art museum
In Kherson, the Russians used trucks to remove exhibits and property from the art museum (Photo:Серов Сергей Александрович/Wikipedia)
Russian forces in the occupied city of Kherson have looted the Oleksiy Shovkunenko Art Museum, taking out truckloads of art and office equipment, the museum’s management announced on Facebook on Nov. 4.
The Russians made use of three to four dozen people to empty out the museum’s exhibits from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3, management wrote.
“They call this “evacuation”, we call it looting under the slogans of “preserving cultural values”, the post reads.
The paintings were not packed properly for transportation, but merely wrapped in rags, the museum added.
According to museum staff, three trucks and a school bus were loaded and driven away, accompanied by plainclothed men armed with machine guns on Nov. 1, two more trucks on Nov. 2, and the remainder of the museum’s pieces were transported by unguarded bus on Nov. 3.
“There were roadblocks around the museum during the looting of one of Ukraine’s best art collections,” the museum’s management explained.
“We hope to find out soon what exactly was illegally hauled in four days, but there is no doubt that the most valuable (XVII-XIX centuries) was taken first. The cargo was directed to Crimea, but we don’t know for a fact that this is its final destination.”
As discovered recently, the “evacuation” was supervised by the museum’s Russian-appointed “director” Natalia Desiatova, whom Kherson residents may know as a singer from the Teatralne cafe.
Some employees of the museum, believed to be collaborating with the Russian occupation forces, are known to have been helping this so-called “director”.
The Russian military had earlier stolen exhibits from museums in Mariupol in July.
According to the Mariupol city council, local history and art museums were robbed off their collections, which constitute the cultural heritage of the city and the region. The buildings themselves were destroyed.
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