Banksy robbers! Thieves steal graffiti star’s mural from a wall in Ukraine before police arrest eight and get the artwork back
- Ukrainian authorities detain group of eight who ‘ruthlessly cut out’ Banksy mural
- The artwork has been salvaged while police investigate would-be thieves
- Government officials say the artworks represent strength and hope of Ukraine
Ukrainian authorities have detained a group of eight people who ‘ruthlessly cut out’ a Banksy mural which symbolised hope and strength against the Russian invasion.
Andrey Nebitov, the head of the Kyiv Police Department, today said the artwork was salvaged after it had been removed from the wall.
Banksy artworks can sell for millions of pounds. An investigation is now underway to determine what charges should be filed against the accused, Nebitov said.
The artwork first was spotted in the town of Hostomel, northwest of the capital Kyiv, in November, after intense shelling by Russia destroyed swathes of the region.
This photograph taken on November 16, 2022 shows the mural made by Banksy on the wall of a destroyed building in the town of Hostomel, near Kyiv, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine
The group of eight cut the mural from the wall of the building – but were caught by police, who are now investigating
It shows what appears to be a woman wearing a dressing gown and a gas mask, carrying a bright red fire extinguisher.
Her face is tilted upwards towards scorch marks rising from a blown out window of a stark yellow building. The graffiti artist claimed the mural on Instagram days later, revealing he’d left up to seven works across Ukraine.
Head of the Kyiv region military administration, Oleksii Kuleba, said all the artworks in Kyiv linked to the graffiti artist are under police guard.
‘After all, these images are a symbol of our struggle against the enemy,’ he said.
‘These are the stories about the support and solidarity of the entire civilized world with Ukraine. Let’s do everything to preserve the works of street art as a symbol of our future Victory.’
The artwork first was spotted in the town of Hostomel, northwest of the capital Kyiv, in November, after intense shelling by Russia destroyed swathes of the region
While the group were successful in slicing the mural from the wall, the image itself was not damaged and can be preserved.
Eight culprits aged between 27 and 60 were arrested at the scene.
Some of Banksy’s other works in Ukraine include a female gymnast balancing on her hands on rubble at the bottom of a an apartment building, which has been completely gutted by Russian shelling.
Another mural depicted a man resembling Russian President Vladimir Putin being flipped during a judo match with a little boy.
Another showed two children using a metal tank trap as a seesaw, while a separate piece in nearby Irpin showed a rhythmic gymnast waving a ribbon while wearing a neck brace.
A woman looks at a graffiti made by Banksy on the wall of a heavily damaged building in the Gorenka village, near Kyiv, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine
In this Banksy piece, a female gymnast is seen balancing on her hands on rubble at the bottom of an apartment building in Borodyanka, which was completely gutted by Russian shelling
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