Eight people arrested after allegedly attempting to steal a Banksy mural in Kyiv

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By Euronews  with AFP
The wall of a damaged building from where a group people tried to steal a work of the famous British artist Banksy in the town of Gostomel, near Kyiv
The wall of a damaged building from where a group people tried to steal a work of the famous British artist Banksy in the town of Gostomel, near Kyiv   -   Copyright  DIMITAR DILKOFF

Ukrainian police managed to stop an attempt to steal a stencilled work by the famous British artist Banksy on the outskirts of Kyiv on Friday, local authorities announced.

"[On Friday] in Gostomel, a group of people tried to steal a drawing by Banksy. They cut out the work [made] on the wall of a house destroyed by the Russians," announced the governor of the Kyiv region, Oleksii Kuleba, in a statement published on Telegram.

He also posted a photo on social media showing a wall with part of the outer coating, in orange paint, cut off. It was there that an individual wearing a gas mask and standing on a chair had been stencilled.

According to Kuleba, "several people were arrested on the spot" by the Ukrainian police, and "the drawing is in good condition and is in the hands of law enforcement agencies.”

The head of the police of the Kyiv region, Andriy Nebytov, said in a separate statement that "eight people have been identified."

"All of them are between 27 and 60 years old. They are residents of Kyiv and Cherkasy," a city 200 kilometres southeast of the capital. He added, "a preliminary investigation for property damage had been opened."

In mid-November, Banksy posted on his Instagram account a video compiling his stencil-painted works in Ukraine, including one of a person wearing a gas mask in Gostomel, confirming that he was the author.

A number of his drawings appeared in early November around the capital.

"Banksy's works in the Kyiv region are under police protection," Kuleba stressed in his statement.