Group Thwarted Trying To Take Banksy Street Art In Ukraine

The elusive artist's mural of a woman in a gas mask is now under police protection.

A mural that street artist Banksy painted on a bombed-out building in Ukraine is under police protection after a group of people were arrested Friday for allegedly trying to remove it from the wall.

Officials said they were keen to preserve the piece amid the country’s ongoing defense against Russia’s invasion, which began in February.

“These images are, after all, symbols of our struggle against the enemy,” the governor of Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, said in a statement shared by Reuters.

“We’ll do everything to preserve these works of street art as a symbol of our victory,” Kuleba added.

Here’s how the wall and the image of a woman in a gas mask in the city of Hostomel, located near Kyiv, looked before:

Future Publishing via Getty Images

And here it is now:

Head of the National Police of Kyiv region Andrii Nebytov via Telegram

The piece was one of seven that Banksy, who has never been officially identified, took credit for creating in solidarity with Ukrainians last month.

The British artist’s murals can sell for millions of dollars.

Many of his previous pieces have been cut from where he painted them to be sold at auction.

Check out more of Banksy’s works in Ukraine here:

Banksy in Ukraine

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