“By agreement with a presenter, on December 23, the icon was passed to the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Moscow,” the Foreign Ministry of Russia stated.
Moreover, the representatives of the Russian diplomacy recommended Bosnia and Herzegovina to ‘involve accessible legal mechanisms to establish all circumstances of this case’, including the origin of the icon.
Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov visited the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina on December 14. Two members of the presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina refused from the meeting with Lavrov. The same day, Milorad Dodik, the Bosnian Serb representative in Bosnia’s three-member presidency, presented a 300-year-old gilded icon to Lavrov.
Ukraine’s Embassy in Sarajevo asked Bosnian authorities to provide further information about the artefact after the Bosnian Serb news agency Srna published a photograph of the icon and its seal of authenticity, which suggested it could be from the city of Luhansk, where pro-Russian separatists have been battling Kyiv’s forces.
Dodik has not commented on the issue, and his representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
Dozens of Bosnian Serbs have fought alongside the pro-Russian rebels in the war in eastern Ukraine, which began in 2014. Serbia and Bosnia’s Serbs have close ties with Russia, with which they share the Eastern Orthodox faith.