Looting Russian troops stole a rare collection of fourth-century Scythian gold after seizing a museum in Ukraine, officials have said.
Ukraine has now opened an investigation into the alleged theft of the historic jewellery, that contravenes the customs of war.
The collection of gold, among several other items, was allegedly snatched from Melitopol City Museum of Local Lore in Zaporizhzhia Oblast of southeastern Ukraine, when Vladimir Putin's forces took control of the area.
The Scythians were a group of ancient tribes of nomadic warriors who originally lived in what is now southern Siberia and parts of modern-day Ukraine.
"Under the procedural guidance of the Zaporizhia Regional Prosecutor's Office, criminal proceedings have been instituted for violating the laws and customs of war (Part 1 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine )," a statement from the Office of the Attorney General said.
Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov said at the end of April that the fate of Scythian gold remains unknown but later the Zaporizhzhya Regional Military Administration, a Ukrainian force, said via their leader, Alexander Starukh, that they removed the valuable items in preparation of a Russian invasion.
According to him, all the most valuable things were taken from the museums of the Zaporozhye region in March 2022 to other regions of Ukraine.
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Earlier, a pro-Russian video appeared showing how the occupiers allegedly found gold hidden by museum staff and "saved" it from being taken abroad.
"We have completely removed from all museums everything that was of historical and cultural value. What they saved there, good luck to them, " said a man in the video.
The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy later promised to solve the riddle as to where the gold actually is.
Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko said on April 30: "We will try to find out what really happened."
Even still, pre-trial investigations into criminal proceedings are being carried out by investigators of the Security Service of Ukraine in Zaporizhia region.
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