They did everything they could to protect the collection. They put it in storage. And they locked the doors. But, look, everything is gone. It is not the monetary value. It is the cultural value. That is incalculable for the people of Kherson and Ukraine.
According to the director, five of the 20 museum staff collaborated with the Russians, telling them what was where. She has been sent photos of the paintings which the soldiers took to a museum in Simferopol, the capital of Russian-occupied Crimea. She can recognize the markings and labels.
Ukraine’s minister of culture came from Kyiv to tour the Kherson Art Museum and see what has been lost.
Are you shocked?
Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukrainian Minister of Culture: Shocked. Shocked, it’s not the word. I am furious, because this particular show would — does Russia mean when they’re fighting our identity? So, these are our heritage. There is our identity. If they stole heritage, they believe that we wouldn’t continue to live and to create. But we will.