© Reuters. The work of the street artist Banksy seems to be complete after the city guards and the police stopped the criminals, who tried to steal in the city of Hostomel, Kyiv region, Ukraine December 2, 2022. Head of the National Police of Kyiv region Andrii Nebytov via Telegram /
By Tom Balmforth
KYIV (Reuters) – A mob tried to take down a mural by Ukrainian artist Banksy on Friday by cutting down a war-scarred wall where it was painted, the Kyiv region’s governor said.
The team was able to cut out a section of plasterboard with an image of a woman wearing a gas mask and gown holding a fire extinguisher on the side of a burning building.
But he was spotted at the site in the city of Hostomel near Kyiv and the footage was taken, Oleksiy Kuleba said in his statement.
The photo was still there and the police were protecting it, he added.
“These pictures are, after all, symbols of our struggle against the enemy… We will do everything to preserve the works of art in the street as a symbol of our victory,” he said.
Banksy, whose work can fetch millions of dollars on the art market, confirmed that he and six others took the pictures last month in areas hit hard by the massive war after Russia annexed Ukraine at the end of February.
One of the paintings shows a young gymnast doing a handstand on a small pile of concrete rubble. Another shows an old man taking a bath.
The police published pictures of a yellow wall in Hostomel, with a large patch cut all the way back to the bricks. Several people were arrested at the scene, he said.
Russia’s war in Ukraine is now in its tenth month. Moscow’s forces have been pushed back from around Kyiv in the first phase of the war, but fighting continues in the east and south.