• Українською
  • Ukraine and USA strategize new way to cooperate in investigating russian crimes against cultural heritage
    Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, posted 19 February 2024 19:03

    A meeting took place at the MCIP between the Acting Minister of Culture and Information Policy Rostyslav Karandieiev and representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. The meeting was dedicated to the cooperation between the countries in combating crimes committed by the russian federation against the cultural heritage of Ukraine. The discussions also touched upon the creation of a joint operational group involving law enforcement agencies, as well as the training of Ukrainian experts by their American counterparts.

    Among the participants from the American side were members of FBI Legal Attaché Office in Kyiv and members from the FBI’s Art Crime Team.

    As a result of russia’s full-scale invasion, approximately 20% of Ukrainian territories have fallen under temporary occupation. Among other consequences, this has led to the loss of control over cultural heritage values in these territories.

    “When we liberated Kherson and visited the museum institutions, including the Kherson Art Museum, we saw that out of 13,000 exhibits, only 3 remained. What is happening in the territories that, regretfully, have been occupied for 10 years, we can only guess. The status of nearly 85,000 cultural values is unknown,” said Rostyslav Karandieiev.

    He expressed gratitude to the Government of the USA and all Americans for their long-term cooperation and systematic efforts to preserve Ukraine’s cultural heritage, as well as for the return last year of 14 stolen Ukrainian historical artifacts.

    “We know that you can help us, not only within the territory of the USA. It is important that in case our values are exported from the territory of russia, customs services around the world are informed and respond properly. We count on your support,” added Rostyslav Karandieiev.

    Currently, Ukraine is working on digitizing museum funds and creating electronic registries of museum artifacts.

    Over the course of the discussions, the representatives from the FBI expressed the shared concerns from Ukrainian officials about the protection and preservation of Ukraine’s cultural heritage in the wake of the conflict and their capability to assist.

    The FBI Art Crime Team is a specialized team dedicated to combating art-related crimes, to include crimes against cultural heritage. Since 2004, the team has specialized specifically in combating looting during armed conflicts, mass atrocities. Through the Art Crime Team, the FBI will continue to collaborate and provide training in order to preserve Ukraine’s cultural heritage.

    The parties have agreed to cooperate in identifying instances of crimes by the russian federation against Ukrainian cultural heritage, documenting them, as well as studying American expertise by Ukrainian specialists. The countries will combine efforts to return Ukrainian cultural values in accordance with international law.