POLITICS

Ukrainian Icon presented to Lavrov in Bosnia estimated at EUR 12.5 mln

A 300-year-old Ukrainian icon, originally from the occupied city of Luhansk, which has earlier been handed as a gift to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is estimated at EUR 12.5 million.

The icon was kept in the Banke Srpske deposit until its bankruptcy, and later was deposited with the Lithuanian-owned UKIO bank. It is not known when and how the icon got into the Bosnian bank, as reported by Balkan Observer for Ukraine on Facebook with reference to the Bosnian BN TV channel, Unian writes.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik said earlier that he would hand over the icon, which he had previously presented to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, to Ukraine, but only if the Ukrainian authorities prove that they demanded it before their meeting.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed that a meeting between Minister Bisera Turkovic and the Ambassador of Ukraine to BiH will be held. 

It is not yet known at what stage the investigative actions of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH are. Milorad Dodik, the chairman of the BiH Presidency and the main actor in the Icon affair, said that he had never received an answer from Ukraine to the question of whether they were looking for an icon. 

“If Ukraine proves that it asked for the icon before the date when I had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, I will accept to hand it over. However, here it is only important that I be attacked, just like Dragan Covic and his associates. All this speaks enough about the judiciary in BiH, ” he said. 

And in the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an investigation is underway, within which members of the Presidency of BiH as well as the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Russia will be questioned. 

As confirmed for BHRT, a meeting will be held between the Minister of Foreign Affairs Bisera Turkovic and the Ambassador of Ukraine to our country. 

“The meeting between Minister Turkovic and the Ambassador of Ukraine should take place in the second half of January. The icon was not delivered to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of BiH, and according to information from the media, the Ambassador of BiH to the Russian Federation handed the icon directly to the Cabinet of the Chairman of the Presidency of BiH,” BHRT writes.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said the country continued to demand the return of an icon that Milorad Dodik, chairman of the BiH presidency, presented to Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister. Kuleba also said that Dodik was lying, Radio Sarajevo writes.

He reacted after Dodik’s statement yesterday that the media invented the story about the icon and that Ukraine never asked about the disappearance of the icon. 

“The Ukrainian icon has burned the hands of even experienced cynical Russian diplomats who have renounced it. But Mr. Dodik continues to lie, surpassing his older friends. Ukraine continues to demand the return of the icon,” Kuleba wrote on his Twitter account.

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