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The Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, says he will transfer to Ukraine a centuries-old Orthodox icon, which had earlier been handed as a gift to Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on condition that Kyiv proves it has actually been searching for it earlier.
That's according to the Ukrainian media outlet European Pravda, referring to Radio Slobodna Evropa on January 15.
In particular, Dodik said he had not heard back from the Ukrainian side as to whether they were searching for the icon, and no data related to it was allegedly provided whatsoever.
"If Ukraine proves that it asked for the icon before the date when I had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, I will accept to hand it over," he said, as per Sarajevo Times.
Read also Ukraine demands from Bosnia return of relic icon – FM Kuleba Dodik mentioned the icon as he was addressing the situation in Bosnia's judicial system, which he called "catastrophic."
"An example of this is the icon, which has been the subject of a wide debate lately, although Ukraine hasn't been looking for it. There is a statement by the Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is responsible for cooperation with Interpol, that the latter has no information about the icon being sought," he said.
The Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, presented a Ukrainian icon to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. After that, the Ukrainian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina demanded an explanation from that country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as to how the icon had appeared in the country in the first place.
Subsequently, the Russian foreign ministry announced that they would return the icon to the side that had presented it so that its history could be traced through Interpol.
According to local media reports, the icon is almost 300 years old and was stored in the Ukrainian city of Luhansk, which is now occupied by Russian-controlled forces.
Read also Ukrainian icon presented to Lavrov in Bosnia estimated at EUR 12.5 mln The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy intends to appeal to law enforcement agencies with a request to establish a chain of the icon's movement from Ukraine to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The prosecutor's office of Bosnia and Herzegovina has opened a respective criminal case.