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The suspected mastermind behind the removal of a Banksy mural in a Ukrainian town could face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty, Ukraine’s interior ministry said on Monday.

The artwork, depicting a woman in a gas mask and a dressing gown holding a fire extinguisher, was taken off a wall in the town of Hostomel on Dec. 2, according to officials.

The mural by England-based street artist Banksy depicts a woman in a gas mask standing on a chair and holding a fire extinguisher.
Banksy painted seven works in places hit hard by the Ukraine war.
Ukrinform/DDP/INSTARimages.com

The ministry announced on its website that the man it believes orchestrated the operation had been handed a “suspicion notice”.

The artwork by the renowned British artist had been valued at over $243,900, the ministry statement said.

Andrii Nebytov, chief of the Kyiv regional National Police, stands next to the work of street artist Banksy, which a group of people tried to steal from a wall of a residential building in the town of Hostomel.
The suspected thief could face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.
Reuters

“The criminals tried to transport this graffiti with the help of wooden boards and polyethylene,” it said.

“Thanks to the concern of citizens, the police and other security forces managed to arrest the criminals.”

The mural was retrieved.

Banksy confirmed he had painted the mural and six others in places that were hit by heavy fighting after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

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