A new graffiti in Banksy's signature style, although not posted by the mercurial artist on social media, is seen on the wall of a destroyed building in the Ukrainian town of Hostomel, which had been occupied by Russia until April and heavily damaged by fighting in the early days of Russian invasion, Nov 13, 2022. (GLEB GARANICH / REUTERS)
KYIV – The suspected mastermind behind the removal of a Banksy mural in a Ukrainian town could face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty, Ukraine's interior ministry said on Monday.
The artwork, depicting a woman in a gas mask and a dressing gown holding a fire extinguisher, was taken off a wall in the town of Hostomel on Dec 2, according to officials.
Ukraine's interior ministry announced on its website that the man it believes orchestrated the operation had been handed a "suspicion notice"
The ministry announced on its website that the man it believes orchestrated the operation had been handed a "suspicion notice".
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The artwork by the renowned British artist had been valued at over 9 million hryvnia ($243,900), the ministry statement said.
"The criminals tried to transport this graffiti with the help of wooden boards and polyethylene," it said.
"Thanks to the concern of citizens, the police and other security forces managed to arrest the criminals."
The mural was retrieved.
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Banksy confirmed he had painted the mural and six others in places that were hit by heavy fighting after Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine in late February.