Ukrainian border guards recover seventeen paintings stolen from an Italian museum by armed robbers worth millions of dollars. Francis Maguire reports.
Recovered in the green fields of eastern Ukraine, Artwork worth millions of euros. 17 paintings, including works by Peter Paul Rubens and Tintoretto, were found. Stolen by armed robbers from a museum in Verona last year. (Soundbite) Chief of Ukrainian Border Service, Viktor Zazrenko, saying (Ukrainian): "Near the central part of the border with Transdniestria, seventeen paintings of large historic and art value were seized during preparations to transport them to Moldova." The paintings were stolen in November by thieves who acted just after the Verona museum's eleven staff members had left work. And they were able to steal the goods before a remote alarm system with the police station could be set-off. Ukraine will now invite Italian experts to authenticate the paintings and prepare their return home. (Soundbite) Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, saying (Ukrainian): "I can imagine and I believe everyone understands that today the total cost of this collection (CONTINUES OVER PAINTINGS ON DISPLAY) amounts to more than 16 million euros according to the documents that were given to me." It's the second time in a month Ukraine has found stolen artwork. In April they recovered four Dutch masterpieces, more than four years after they were taken from a museum in the Netherlands. The government will hope moves like this prove it is serious about tackling art's extensive and expensive black market.