UOC lawyer: Culture Minister’s statement on loss of icons is a provocation

Minister of Culture of Ukraine Yevgeny Nishchuk

The minister did not confirm his accusations with documents, Protopriest Alexander Bakhov explained.

Ukrainian Culture Minister Yevgeny Nishchuk's statements that icons have been stolen from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra are ungrounded, Protopriest Alexander Bakhov, the head of the UOC Legal Department, said in an interview with the socio-political edition “Apostrof”.

"These statements sound fairly abstract now. No one knows what is missing or where it went," Protopriest Alexander Bakhov said.

The head of the UOC Legal Department Statements stressed that theft needs to be made on the basis of a decision made by a commission that inspected all these cultural valuables.

"On the basis of such a decision, an official can say that things are missing, a list of these things is provided, and then we сan be specific about every object of cultural heritage - what, how, and why – to make it clear. But now it is unclear for what purpose and why this is being done. It's just pointless to talk about it now," the Ukrainian Orthodox Church lawyer said.

He called Nishchuk's statement a provocation, saying that "the minister has not backed up his statements with any documents or even evidence."

He confirmed that the commission inspected over 800 objects and issued its findings back in December 2018, but the text of the conclusion for some reason is not available yet.

"We do not have access to this document. Over 800 objects were inspected there. Every day, the commission visited and inspected a certain number of objects. I don't know why it is not being signed and published now," the priest said.

Yevgeny Nishchuk, the Minister of Culture of Ukraine, said that the complete inventory of the Lavra’s values was only partially carried out, and the media and people would be fully informed about the “losses” of values in Ukrainian Lavras and churches later, for which a special briefing would be held.

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