A gang of Ukrainian art thieves have been busted after ripping a Banksy mural off a wall and stealing it.
The art, by the famous secretive wall-painter, was daubed on a wall in the town of Hostomel in Kyiv earlier this year.
The artists confirmed he had been in Ukraine painting seven elusive murals in November, specifically targetting areas battered by Russian shelling.
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Each Banksy image – of which there are many daubed on walls and many a canvas around the world – can rake in several millions of pounds at auction, hence why it had become a prime target for low-life art stealers.
The gang, consisting of eight people, was spotted in the Hostomel area, which is on the Northwestern outer edges of the Ukrainian capital.
The mural was seized by police at the scene, after locals reported the theft taking place.
It is now in the hands of the country's Ministry of Culture, with its fate undecided.
Governor of Kyiv, Oleksiy Kuleba said; “These images are, after all, symbols of our struggle against the enemy.
“We'll do everything to preserve these works of street art as a symbol of our victory,.”
The graffiti, which depicts a woman in a dressing gown wearing a gas mask while holding a fire extinguisher and standing on a chair, itself is undamaged, but was taken off the yellow wall it was painted on.
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The house it belonged to was bombed by Russia, and the window by the painting has no glass, is burned out, and shows a glimpse inside of a totally destroyed interior.
News of the attempted theft was reported on Mr Kuleba's Telegram channel, and the gang of eight thieves are now awaiting trial for the heinous act.
According to local reports, the group were hoping to sell the image on the black arts market.
An exact value of this image has not been given.
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