MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - A Dutch museum’s unwillingness to return a Scythian Gold exhibit to Crimea is unjustified and Kiev’s complaints should not serve as a hindrance, Russian Culture Ministry aide Kirill Rybak told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
The Dutch appear to be trying to avoid becoming arbitrators in the dispute, “however, this position can hardly be justified from a legal standpoint, since, according to the contracts and civil and international museum law standards, the exhibits should be returned to the museums where they were kept,” Rybak said.
“The Russian Ministry of Culture is carefully following the development of the situation with the exhibition ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ and is informed of Ukraine’s legal complaints on the items in the exhibition, as well as [watching] the actions of the [Dutch] Allard Pierson Museum,” Rybak added.
The museum in Amsterdam said Wednesday it would keep the collection of Scythian Gold items caught in an ownership dispute between Ukraine and its former republic of Crimea until the sides resolve their dispute.
“We suppose that complaints by Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture will not hamper the fulfillment of the contracts on holding the exhibition and the items will be returned to the museums in Crimea,” Rybak said.
The Ukrainian Culture Ministry said earlier that the items in the collection would be returned to Kiev, since they are regarded as Ukrainian property. The Netherlands did not confirm the information, saying the issue should be resolved by the museums involved in the matter.
A collection of rare gold artifacts was sent to the Netherlands in February for an exhibition showcasing artifacts from five Ukrainian museums, four of which are located in Crimea.
In March, Kiev demanded the gold be returned to Ukraine, not Crimea, since the latter had reunified with Russia. Crimea, however, dismissed the demands as groundless.