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Dutch appeals court docket awards Crimean gold artefacts to Ukrainian state

AMSTERDAM, Oct 26 (Reuters) – A Dutch appeals court docket dominated on Tuesday {that a} assortment of historical Crimean gold artefacts, claimed each by Ukraine and by museums within the Russian-annexed peninsula, needs to be returned to the Ukrainian state.

The items, together with a stable gold Scythian helmet and a golden neck decoration every weighing greater than 1 kg (35 oz), have been on show within the Netherlands when Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

In studying a abstract of the choice, presiding Judge Pauline Hofmeijer-Rutten mentioned that the nationwide tradition pursuits of Ukraine outweigh these of the museums in Crimea.

“The Allard Pierson Museum is no longer obliged to return the pieces to the Crimean museums,” she mentioned, studying a abstract of the choice. “The rights of the Ukrainian state, based on the [Ukrainian] Law of Museums … take precedence.”

The ruling could be appealed earlier than the Dutch Supreme Court.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea drew Western sanctions. Western nations and a lot of the remainder of the world recognise the Black Sea peninsula as Ukrainian, and Kyiv needs the territory returned.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the choice, saying in a Tweet: “We always regain what’s ours. After the ‘Scythian gold’, we’ll (recover) Crimea.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned he couldn’t remark. Sergei Aksyonov, the highest politician in Russia-controlled Crimea, was quoted by Interfax information company as saying the ruling was “unfair and unlawful.”

“I think the fight to return the valuables that rightfully belong to the peoples of Crimea must continue,” he mentioned.

A decrease court docket in 2016 had additionally ordered the Dutch museum to return the archaeological treasures, which embody gems, helmets and scabbards, to Ukraine’s authorities fairly than the 4 museums that had lent them out, however following a unique reasoning.

Rob Meijer, the lawyer who appealed on behalf of the museums, mentioned he was dissatisfied however it’s as much as his shoppers to resolve on an additional enchantment.

“These treasures … have been excavated in Crimea, they’ve been taken care of, restored, exhibited always in Crimea,” he mentioned.

Maarten Sanders, the lawyer representing Ukraine, mentioned it might it’s troublesome for Russia to try to say possession of the objects in a Dutch court docket, because the United Nations and European Union haven’t recognised its sovereignty over Crimea.

The University of Amsterdam, proprietor of the Allard Pierson Museum, has mentioned the museum will proceed to maintain the objects in storage till all appeals are settled.

Reporting by Toby Sterling, further reporting by Olzhas Auyezov, Anton Kolodyazhnyy, Anthony Deutsch and Matthias Williams, Editing by Giles Elgood and Timothy Heritage