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Reuters: Russian minister claims artwork seized by Finland to be returned this weekend

The Kremlin summoned Finland's Ambassador to Russia to discuss Finnish customs' seizure of the artwork on Thursday.

Crates of artwork seized by Finnish Customs at Finland's border with Russia. Image: Handout / Tulli

Artwork worth millions of euros headed to Russia seized by Finnish border officials earlier this week will be returned to Russia at the weekend, news agency Reuters reported on Friday, quoting Russian Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova.

On Wednesday Finnish Customs announced that Vaalimaa border crossing officials had seized paintings and other artwork worth around 42 million euros that were bound for Russia.

The seized artwork falls under the EU sanctions against Russia following the country's invasion of Ukraine, according to Customs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"The European Commission made it clear that exhibits participating in European exhibitions are not on the sanctions list," Lyubimova said on Friday, according to Reuters.

Lyubimova posted her comment on the instant messaging service Telegram.

The artwork, including paintings, statues and antiquities, were on their way back to Russia from exhibits in Italy and Japan, the news agency said.

On Thursday the Kremlin summoned Finland's Ambassador to Russia to discuss Finnish Customs' seizure of the artwork.

Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported on Thursday that Russia's foreign ministry said the responsibility for the artwork "lies on Finland until their return to Russia."

"Moscow expects the Finnish authorities to make an early decision on ensuring the return of the museum works of art to Russia. Until such a decision is taken, the Finnish authorities bear full responsibility for storage of these works of art," TASS quoted the ministry.