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U.S. Returns Stolen Historical Documents To Russia

The United States has returned to Russia 21 historical documents -- some hundreds of years old -- that were stolen from archives in Moscow and St. Petersburg after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The documents -- including decrees signed by the last Russian tsar, Nicholas, and 18th-century empress Catherine the Great, were handed over on December 3 to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a ceremony at the Russian Embassy in Washington.

The U.S. Immigration And Customs Enforcement agency helped recover the documents after Russian officials found some of the historical papers for sale by U.S. auction houses.

The documents are among around 1,000 historical papers that reportedly went missing -- and were apparently stolen -- from Russia's national archives between 1994 and 2002.

compiled from agency reports