"(Friday) in Gostomel, a group of people tried to steal a Banksy drawing. They cut the work (made) on the wall of a house destroyed by the Russians", announced the governor of the region of kyiv, Oleksiï Kouleba, in a press release published on Telegram.
His social media post was accompanied by a photo showing a wall with part of the exterior cladding, orange paint, cut away. This is where an individual wearing a gas mask, standing on a chair, had been stencilled.
According to Mr. Kouleba, "several people were arrested on the spot" by the Ukrainian police and "the drawing is in good condition and is in the hands of the police".
kyiv region police chief Andriï Nebitov said in a separate statement that "eight people have been identified".
"All are between 27 and 60 years old. They are residents of kyiv and Cherkassy", a city located 200 km southeast of the capital, he detailed on Telegram, adding that "a preliminary investigation for material damage had been opened".
In mid-November, Banksy posted a video on his Instagram account compiling his stenciled works in Ukraine, including that of an individual wearing a gas mask in Gostomel, thus confirming to be the author.
A number of his cartoons appeared in early November in kyiv and its surroundings.
"Banksy's works in the kyiv region are under police protection," Kouleba said in his statement.