People try to steal Banksy mural of gas-masked woman in Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News

Police arrest a group of individuals who attempted to slice the mural off a war-damaged wall in the city of Hostomel.

A group of people have tried to take a mural by graffiti artist Banksy in Ukraine by cutting it off a battle-scarred wall where it was painted.

The group managed to slice off a section of board and plaster bearing the image of a woman in a gas mask and dressing gown holding a fire extinguisher on the side of a scorched building.

They were spotted at the scene in the city of Hostomel, near Kyiv, and the mural was retrieved, the governor of Kyiv region Oleksiy Kuleba said in a statement.

The image was still intact and police were protecting it, he added.

“These images are, after all, symbols of our struggle against the enemy … We’ll do everything to preserve these works of street art as a symbol of our victory,” he said.

The work of street artist Banksy is seen packed after municipal guard and police detained criminals, who tried to steal it in town of Hostomel
The yellow wall appears sliced off after a group of people tried to steal Banksy’s mural in the town of Hostomel, Kyiv region [Andrii Nebytov via Telegram/Reuters]

Police published images of the yellow wall with a large patch cut all the way back to the brickwork. A number of people were arrested at the scene, they said.

Banksy, whose work can sell for millions of dollars on the art market, confirmed he had painted the mural and six others last month in places that were badly affected by heavy fighting after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

One of the other murals shows a girl gymnast performing a handstand on a small pile of concrete rubble. Another shows an old man having a bath.

A third mural depicts a man resembling Russia’s President Vladimir Putin being flipped by a child during a judo match.

Graffiti of a child throwing a man on the floor in judo clothing
Graffiti of a child throwing a man on the floor in judo attire is seen on a wall amid damaged buildings in Borodyanka [File: Ed Ram/Getty Images]

Banksy rose to fame around the city of Bristol, in southwestern England, in the early 1990s.

The anonymous street artist has travelled to areas affected by war and conflict in the past, including the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

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