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Russia to return icon to Bosnia after Ukraine complaint
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov (L) shakes hands with chairman of Bosnian tripartite presidency, Milorad Dodik (R), in Sarajevo, on December 15, 2020. ELVIS BARUKCIC / AFP.



MOSCOW (AFP).- Moscow said on Saturday it would return to Bosnia a centuries-old Ukrainian icon after Ukraine complained about it being presented as a gift to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

A representative of the Russian foreign ministry told AFP that the gilded Christian Orthodox icon -- believed to be 300 years old -- "will be returned" to Bosnia so that its provenance can be established with the help of Interpol.

According to reports, Bosnia's Serb president Milorad Dodik presented it to Russia's top diplomat Lavrov during a recent visit.

But the move riled Kiev, and the Ukrainian embassy in Bosnia sent a note demanding an "urgent explanation regarding the possession of their cultural heritage," the government in Bosnia said.

The artwork originates from Lugansk, a region in eastern Ukraine held by Russia-backed separatists.

Ukraine has been fighting Russian-speaking separatists in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions since 2014 following Moscow's annexation of the Crimean peninsula.


© Agence France-Presse










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