HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finnish customs said on Wednesday they had stopped works of art worth around 42 million euros ($46 million) from being returned to Russia last weekend due to European Union sanctions, and would consult with Brussels on their status as luxury goods.
Customs seized three haulages of paintings, statues and antiquities on their way back to Russia via Finland from Italy and Japan, where they were temporarily on loan from Russian museums and art galleries, said Sami Rakshit, director of the Finnish customs enforcement department.
Rakshit said pieces of art are considered luxury items that fall under the EU’s sanctions against Russia, imposed for its invasion of Ukraine. Russia calls it “a special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” its neighbour.
The confiscated items remain Russian property and would be stored under the supervision of the Finnish Heritage Agency, the customs said.
Russian news agency Moskva quoted the Russian