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Stolen Dutch Paintings Found In East Ukraine

A collection of stolen Dutch masterpieces dating from the 17th century have resurfaced in rebel-held eastern Ukraine 10 years after they had been stolen.

The Westfries Museum in the northwestern Dutch city of Hoorn said on December 7 that two men approached the Dutch Embassy in Kyiv in July offering to sell the 24 paintings back.

The men claimed they found the collection in a villa in eastern Ukraine and asked 5 million euros ($5.4 million) for it -- half its value when it went missing in 2005.

But an art expert, who has been hired as an intermediary, estimated the collection's current cost at a maximum 500,000 euros ($545,000), noting the paintings' current poor shape.

Westfries Museum Director Ad Geerdink warned that the works were in danger of being sold on the black market after its own efforts to retrieve them failed.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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