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Ukraine installs new security measures to protect Banksy street art in Kyiv

An artwork made by British street artist Banksy is seen at the bottom of a destroyed building in Irpin, near Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023.
An artwork made by British street artist Banksy is seen at the bottom of a destroyed building in Irpin, near Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. Copyright Thibault Camus/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Thibault Camus/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Kerem CongarAP
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After the attempted theft of one of Banksy's murals in Kyiv, the local government has implemented a new security system to keep the safe and on display when damaged buildings are reconstructed.

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Kyiv regional authorities have covered four works by British street-artist Banksy in protective glass and set up guards to prevent future looting after the attempted theft of one last December.

"We believe that this is a newly discovered cultural and historical heritage," Deputy Head of Kyiv regional military administration Oleh Torkunov says. "Every single Banksy work should remain on the site as it is in its original form." 

All the artworks will remain in their current locations and the local authorities are planning reconstruction efforts for the buildings around them. 

Concerned for the safety of the murals, the government is also implementing technological safety measures. 

"In places where it's much easier to get to, there's an additional sensor under the glass that reacts if someone will try to hit it, break it," explains Valentyn Hrytsenko, representative of the security company. "And on the opposite side, there is another sensor that takes a photo. When my colleagues received the alarm, they immediately saw that there were people near the painting." 

Thibault Camus/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
An artwork made by British street artist Banksy is seen at the bottom of a destroyed building in Horenka, near Kyiv, Ukraine.Thibault Camus/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

In more exposed areas, the artworks have sensors and security cameras in case of theft.

"The Department of Culture and Tourism contacted Banksy's representatives to clarify the legal aspects of using Banksy artwork. We haven't received a response yet, but we've contacted the representatives. If they had any serious legal claims or objections about this, I think we would have already received them." says Torkunov.

Andrew Kravchenko/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.
A woman takes a picture of artwork that might have been made by British street artist Banksy on a building destroyed by fighting in Borodyanka, Kyiv region, UkraineAndrew Kravchenko/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

"Let it remain here," said Horenka resident, Volodymyr Budnichenko.

"People are sitting here looking at them. Let them be. It won't be long before this house will be restored. Nobody tells us anything about whether they will do anything with it. So let [the artwork] be there." the 72-year-old Ukrainian added.

Video editor • Kerem Congar

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