MOSCOW, March 31 (RIA Novosti) - The speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament on Monday called for the return of a collection of rare Crimean gold artifacts currently on loan to a museum in Amsterdam.
"We insist that the artifacts should be returned to their home museums," Sergei Naryshkin said.
Earlier reports emerged suggesting the artifacts might not make it back to the lending museums in Crimea.
Instead, the collection could be sent to Kiev, as the Dutch government has refused to recognize the results of a referendum in Crimea that led to the region, formerly part of Ukraine, rejoining Russia earlier this month.
The exhibition at the Allard Pierson Museum, titled "Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea," displays artifacts from five Ukrainian museums, four of which are located in Crimea.
Mikhail Shvydkoi, the special representative of the Russian president on international cultural cooperation claimed the items should be returned to Crimea as they belong to the cultural heritage of the region.
Meanwhile, the museum said it was facing a tough decision regarding the fate of the artifacts.
Yasha Lange, a spokesperson for the museum, told RIA Novosti the items will remain in the Netherlands until the end of the exhibition and then be returned, after their legal ownership is clarified.
The matter is currently being looked into by legal advisors at the University of Amsterdam, which owns and operates the museum.
Mikhail Shvydkoi, the special representative of the Russian president on international cultural cooperation, said the items should be returned to Crimea as they belong to the cultural heritage of the region.
The Scythians were nomadic steppe people who inhabited much of modern-day Russia and Ukraine in the 7th to 2nd century BC. The collection includes jewelry, precious stones, armor and housewares and is estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.