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Ukraine Recovers 17 Paintings Stolen In Italy

Ukraine says it has recovered 17 paintings worth more than $16 million stolen from an Italian museum last year.

Ukrainian border guards found the works of art hidden in plastic bags on a small island on the Dniester River between Ukraine and Moldova, about 1 1/2 kilometers from the border.

The paintings, including works by Peter Paul Rubens, Pisanello, Caroto, Tintoretto, and Mantegna, were stolen by gunmen from the Castelvecchio Museum in the northern Italian city of Verona in November.

Italian police and media reports have suggested the artworks were stolen "to order" for a buyer based in Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya.

Italian and Moldovan nationals have been detained as suspects.

President Petro Poroshenko said it was a "brilliant operation" that showed Ukraine's fight against art smuggling.

Ukrainian authorities have invited Italian experts to authenticate the paintings.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, and Deutsche Welle