President Petro Poroshenko took part in the opening of the Rescued Treasures of Italy exhibition in the National Museum of Western and Oriental Art, in Kyiv.
The Head of State noted the uniqueness of the exhibition, which represents 17 paintings from the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona found by Ukrainian law enforcers and border guards. These are unique cultural values - masterpieces by Rubens, Pisanello, Tintoretto, Bellini, Mantegna, Caroto and other famous artists.
The President emphasized that the exhibition became possible due to an efficient cooperation of Ukrainian law enforcers, border guards, employees of military prosecution, Prosecutor General’s Office and Ministry of Culture.
'I am happy that the Ukrainian community will have an opportunity to see these great pieces of art today,' Petro Poroshenko said.
According to the President, the given exhibition symbolizes responsible attitude of Ukraine to its cultural heritage and the achievements of European nations. The Head of State reminded that in 2009, in the same National Museum of Western and Oriental Art, the Italian Carabinieri had conveyed to Ukraine the artifacts of Kyivan Rus’ smuggled to Italy. 'It is a miracle that the stolen paintings haven’t been damaged,' Petro Poroshenko added.
The Head of State stressed that the pieces of art will be transferred to the Italian museum upon completion of the investigation. 'This is the evidence of an efficient cooperation between Ukraine and the EU, Ukraine and Italy. It proves friendly and trustful relations between our states,' the President noted.
The President expressed gratitude to Mayor of Verona Flavio Tosi, Embassy of Italy to Ukraine, staff of the National Museum of Western and Oriental Art, law enforcers and Ministry of Culture.
In his turn, Ambassador of Italy to Ukraine Fabrizio Romano expressed gratitude to the President and noted that the exhibition would further strengthen the relations between Ukraine and Italy. According to him, this exhibition has the biggest cultural value in the history of bilateral relations of the two countries.
Mayor of Verona Flavio Tosi expressed gratitude to the President. He noted that the given event was a true holiday for the whole country.
'Due to the efforts of the law enforcers and Mr. President Poroshenko, this event has strengthened the Ukraine-Italy relations,' the Mayor of Verona said.
As a token of gratitude, Tosi announced that all Ukrainian citizens would have an opportunity to visit Verona museums for free. He also granted honorary citizenship of Verona to the President of Ukraine and invited him to visit this Italian city at his convenience.
President Poroshenko also had a separate meeting with Mayor of Verona Flavio Tosi.
'Verona is very close to every Ukrainians. Look at the yellow and blue colors of Ukraine and the colors of Verona. I always felt that we are very close,' the President said and thanked the Mayor of Verona for granting him the title of honorary citizen of this Italian city.
The Head of State also expressed gratitude for the decision to provide a free access to the museums of Verona for Ukrainians. 'It is a great gesture. It means that Ukrainians will feel like home in Verona,' Petro Poroshenko said and promised that the visit of the Mayor of Verona to Kyiv would impress him.
The President also thanked the Ambassador of Italy to Ukraine and the Government of Italy for supporting Ukraine on the track of the European integration and reforms.
In his turn, the Mayor of Verona expressed gratefulness to the President for a hospitable welcome. 'The yellow and blue colors in Kyiv made me feel like home,'
Flavio Tosi said and noted the beauty of ancient Kyiv.
The Mayor of Verona underscored close economic ties between Kyiv and Verona. According to him, several powerful Italian enterprises operate in the Ukrainian capital. Flavio Tosi is hopeful that the economic and cultural cooperation between our countries will be continued and enhanced.
Flavio Tosi also expressed his admiration and support for the actions of President Poroshenko in the European integration policy.