World Bulletin / News Desk
A Dutch court ruled Wednesday that priceless Crimean art treasures loaned to an Amsterdam museum shortly before Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014 should go back to Ukraine.
Four Crimean museums launched a joint legal bid in November 2014 to force the Allard Pierson Museum to return the historic collection of archeological artefacts, displayed in an exhibition titled: "The Crimea: Gold and Secrets from the Black Sea."
Kiev also demanded their return, and the Dutch judges ruled "that the objects must go to Ukraine, the artefacts' country of origin and cultural heritage," Dutch news agency ANP said.
The judges however "made no ruling as to the rightful owner of the collection," saying it was a question for Ukrainian courts, ANP reported.
Crimea was at the crossroads of ancient trade routes and the rich collection of items spanning the second century BC to the late mediaeval era was loaned to the Amsterdam museum less than a month before Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014.
Kiev says Russia illegally annexed the Black Sea territory, a month after Ukraine's Moscow-backed president was ousted in a pro-EU revolt.
It also accuses Moscow of backing the pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine's industrial east in a conflict that has claimed nearly 10,000 lives since April 2014.
Earlier this week both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said they favoured extending EU sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict.
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