The artifacts – which include a solid gold helmet and neck ornament, each weighing more than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) – had been brought to the Netherlands for an exhibition several months before Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in February and March 2014.
The Kremlin then demanded that the exhibits be returned to the museum they’d come from in occupied Crimea, but Kyiv insisted they were the property of the Ukrainian state.
On Oct. 26, 2021, after nearly a decade of litigation, the case was finally decided in Ukraine’s favor by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.
Along with agreeing to return the artifacts, the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, which had held the items for almost a decade, said it would waive all the fees associated with storing and maintaining them.
“The return of artifacts of special historical and cultural significance is a significant and multifaceted process. It combines legal, museum, diplomatic and logistical aspects. We are looking forward to the return of the collections, one of which is known as ‘Scythian gold,’ back home to Ukraine,” said the Acting Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Rostislav Karandeyev, according to the ministry’s website.
The Artan unit, an elite unit formed in the first days of the full-scale invasion, has been involved in various daring operations – including securing Snake Island and Boyko Towers in the Black Sea.
Karandeyev expressed gratitude to the Allard Pierson Museum on behalf of Ukraine for safeguarding and storing the artifacts.