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$1mn worth of paintings and icons missing after Right Sector ‘guarded’ leisure base

$1mn worth of paintings and icons missing after Right Sector ‘guarded’ leisure base
28 paintings and 6 icons were reported missing from the recreational center ‘Bear oak grove’ after Right Sector members left its premises, said Ukraine’s Interior Ministry adding that the damage is estimated at about US$ 1 million.

The head and owner of the recreational center ‘Bear oak grove’ (Medveja dubrova) in Transcarpathian region has filed a complaint with the police about the missing works of art, said the ministry.

“After the Right Sector guarded the recreational center Medveja dubrova the police are looking for 28 unique painting and six icons” said the Interior Ministry in a statement on Sunday adding that a criminal investigation has been launched.

The Right sector guarded the center from 23 to 26 March, said the head of Medveja dubrova. He added that the works of art were discovered missing after an inventory of the property and they are of high historic and artistic value.

The Right Sector movement first emerged at the end of November 2013 supporting the Euromaidan protests in Kiev and headed by Dmitry Yarosh. In March the ultra-nationalist movement decided to become a political party, nominating Yarosh for president.

Russia put Yarosh on an international wanted list and charged him with inciting terrorism after he urged Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov to launch attacks on Russia over the Ukrainian conflict. The far-right leader has also threatened to destroy Russian pipelines on Ukrainian territory.

Yarosh has also demanded the resignation of acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and the arrest of security officers after a police raid against the gang of notorious radical militant Aleksandr Muzychko resulted in his death.

Over 1,500 nationalists from the Right Sector circled the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev threatening to storm it on Thursday if Avakov did not resign.

The actions of Ukraine's nationalists have finally caught the attention of the international community, with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton denouncing Right Sector for its ‘pressure’ and ‘undemocratic’ demand of the interior minister’s resignation. Earlier EU officials were reluctant to call the Right Sector anything other than democratic protesters.

Following the siege of Kiev parliament building, Ukraine’s security officials have discussed banning the movement, a source in Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party told Ria Novosti.

Right Sector fighters were active in the violence which triggered the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich. The group’s fighters used clubs, petrol bombs and firearms against Ukrainian police and have been seen wearing Nazi insignia.

A Scythian gold pectoral from the Tovsta Mohyla kurhan, 4th century BC (Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine) (Reuters)

The coup-appointed government has been supported by the West. The vast majority of the US Senate and House of Representatives have voted on Friday to provide Kiev $1 billion in loan guarantees, to help ‘democracy in Ukraine, governance and civil society assistance, as well enhance security cooperation by Ukraine with other states in Central and Eastern Europe’.

On March 12 US President Barack Obama held a meeting with Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk in Washington DC. Head of Moscow Center of Lev Gumilev Pavel Zarifullin said that according to his source in Ukraine’s Security Service, in addition to proposals and requests Yatsenyuk brought to US certain guarantees - evidence of Ukraine's readiness to cooperate.

“During the upcoming trip to the US, Mr. Yatsenyuk brought to Boryspil International Airport [in Kiev] a large amount of cultural artifacts of Scythian time [Scythian gold] from the Ukrainian State Precious Metals and Gems Repository. All this was brought in armored cars to the airport and then transported to the US,” Zarifulin told RT.

Zarifulin said that under the decree and the list of artefacts his source saw Yatsenyuk’s signature. The head of the center also said that according to his information, the estimated insurance cost of the Scythian gold was up to 18 billion dollars.