Disinfo: Russia has no role in the dispute over Crimean artifacts


Moscow has no role in the dispute between Ukraine and the Crimea over the ownership of artifacts, which consist of pure gold belonging to an ancient civilization, exhibited at the Allard Pierson Museum In Amsterdam in 2014.

The Russian Federation is not a party to the dispute over the artifacts that were displayed under the title “Crimea – Gold and the secrets of the Black Sea”. These procedures began among the four museums of Crimea on the one hand, and the Allard Pierson Museum on the other, on the basis of bilateral contracts.

The four Crimean museums had stated in court that the Dutch side had failed to return the artifacts to their owners in time after the exhibition ended in 2014, and had asked the museum administration to do so as soon as possible.




The legal dispute originated as a direct result of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.

The collection subject to the dispute includes ancient Jewellery, gems, helmets and scabbards from four museums in Crimea, and was sent on loan to a museum in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam in 2014 — around the same time Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

In 2016 a Dutch court ruled that the artifacts should be sent to Ukraine since the four museums now fall under the jurisdiction of Russian-occupied territory.

Maarten Sanders, one of the lawyers representing the interests of Ukraine told NBC that since the annexation of Crimea has been declared illegal by the United Nations, the European Union and many other international bodies, the Netherlands and its courts should not recognize the annexation. Sanders added: “So long as the Crimea museums are subject to the authorities of the Russian Federation, and so long as the territory on which they are established is occupied by the Russian Federation, Ukraine cannot exercise its state control over the museums and the collections they hold. For so long as this situation continues the treasures are to be kept in Kiev.”

Crimea is a part of Ukraine and was illegally annexed by Russia. In 2014, Russian troops obliged the parliament of Crimea to organise a referendum, which was illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control. The annexation has been condemned by the United Nations General Assembly (see the resolution A/RES/68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine).


  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Crimea


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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