Bosnia and Herzegovina opens investigation into how a Ukrainian icon was presented to Russian Foreign Minister

The Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina has opened a criminal case because of an ancient Ukrainian icon, which the former president of the Republika Srpska, the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik gave to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, reports the newspaper Dnevni avaz reference to the prosecutor's office.

On December 14, Lavrov officially visited Sarajevo. The visit was marred by scandal, as two members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina refused to meet with him.

During the meeting, Dodik presented Lavrov with an ancient Orthodox icon. According to the, the Ukrainian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina then appealed to the country’s Foreign Ministry with a request to provide information about the icon presented to the Russian minister.

Ukrainian diplomats said that this icon dates back to 300 years ago and is originally form Luhansk. On its back side there is even a stamp of the Ukrainian People's Committee of Culture of 1920.

The Ukrainian embassy stressed that “Luhansk is occupied by Russia”, so the inability to provide the information about the icon "will mean support for Russian aggression against Ukraine".

After that, the Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Deputy Prime Minister Bisera Turković informed the prosecutor's office about the note received from the Ukrainian embassy. She called the allegations serious and instructed the prosecutor's office to investigate, after which a criminal case was opened.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko told BBC News Ukraine that Kyiv expects to meet with officials of the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the coming days.

According to Nikolenko, Ukrainian diplomats learned about this story from the media. They saw an icon and an inscription on the back, which indicates its Ukrainian origin.

"We would like to hear the information about how the icon appeared on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territory and circumstances that prompted this icon to be given to the Russian Foreign Minister," the spokesman said.

  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lavrov, Ukraine, Russia