Spanish authorities have confiscated Scythian jewellery worth about €60 million ($64 million). According to the authorities, the jewellery was stolen from Ukraine several years ago. The criminals were caught trying to sell them in Madrid.
According to the Spanish police, 11 antique gold jewellery pieces were smuggled out of Ukraine in 2016 for resale in Spain. The items include bracelets, necklaces and earrings dating back to the 8th to 4th centuries BC and belonging to the Scythian era. The jewellery had forged documents stating that it belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The Madrid National Police said in a statement that the items were exhibited in a Kyiv museum in 2009-2013 and smuggled out of Ukraine in 2016. As part of the investigation, which began in 2021, three Spanish citizens and two Ukrainian citizens were arrested after one of the items – a gold belt with rams’ heads – was sold in Madrid at a private auction. The detainees include a representative of the UOC (Moscow Patriarchate) from Ukraine.
🔹Las joyas de oro, de gran valor histórico y económico, habían sido sustraídas y exportadas ilícitamente e iban a ser vendidas en Madrid pic.twitter.com/WTAJL5TfNQ
— Policía Nacional (@policia) October 23, 2023
Separately, Ukrainian authorities recently announced that they had recovered 14 archaeological items allegedly stolen from the territories temporarily occupied by Russia. a Russian man was arrested after attempting to take them to the United States. Among the finds is a Neolithic axe dating back to approximately 5,000-3,000 BC. “It is safe to say that Ukraine has received a new batch of weapons. The only catch is that this weapon is incredibly old,” Rostyslav Karandeyev, acting Minister of Culture of Ukraine, ironically remarked at a press conference.
The artefacts created by the Scythian civilisation are one of Ukraine’s most famous historical heritages. Ukrainian archaeologists claim that Scythian gold stored in Ukrainian museums in the territories temporarily occupied by Russia was looted after the full-scale invasion last year. Damage from Russia’s alleged looting of Ukraine’s historical and artistic heritage is estimated at hundreds of millions of euros.