A group of people have tried to take a mural in Ukraine by the graffiti artist Banksy, by cutting away a section of war-damaged wall where it was sprayed.
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.
But they were spotted at the scene in the city of Hostomel, near Kyiv, and the section was retrieved, the governor of Kyiv, Oleksiy Kuleba, said on Friday. The image was still intact and police were protecting it.
“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.
Banksy, whose work can sell for millions, confirmed that he had painted the mural and six others last month in places affected by heavy fighting after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
One of the murals shows a girl gymnast performing a handstand on a small pile of concrete rubble. Another shows an old man having a bath.
Police published images of the yellow wall in Hostomel with a large patch cut back to the brickwork. A number of people were arrested at the scene, they said.
Russia’s war in Ukraine is now in its 10th month. Moscow’s forces were pushed back from around Kyiv in the first phase of the war, but fighting continues in the east and south.