IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Thieves try to steal Banksy mural from scorched wall in Ukrainian town

The image of a woman in a bathrobe and gas mask holding a fire extinguisher, was cut away from the war damaged building in Kyiv's Hostomel suburb.
Thieves cut this graffiti by Banksy out of the wall of a destroyed building in the town of Hostomel. GENYA SAVILOV / AFP - Getty Images

A group of thieves were thwarted after they attempted to steal a mural by the renowned street artist Banksy on the outskirts of Kyiv, a Ukrainian official said Friday.

The image of a woman in a bathrobe and gas mask holding a fire extinguisher, was cut away from the war damaged wall on the side of a scorched building in the Hostomel suburb of the Ukrainiain capital, Kyiv Regional Gov. Oleksii Kuleba said in a post on his Telegram channel.

He said the thieves “were detained at the scene,” and the image was “undamaged” and under the protection of law enforcement officers.

“These images are a symbol of our struggle against the enemy,” he added. “These are stories about the support and solidarity of the entire civilized world with Ukraine. Let’s do everything to preserve the works of street art as a symbol of our future victory.”

The mural is one of several Banksy has completed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24.

The artist who keeps his identity secret, released video footage and images on his Instagram site of several other murals in Horenka and Borodyanka on the outskirts of Kyiv last month.

Some depict Ukrainians doing everyday activities, such as children playing or people bathing. Another portrays a man being flipped in judo by a much smaller child.

Based in England, Banksy's identity has been the source of intense international speculation since he first became active in the 1990s.

His work uses a distinctive stenciling technique, and is often intended as darkly humorous political satire on themes of poverty and social injustice. 

A vocal anti-war activist, Banksy has also painted murals in Gaza and the West Bank.

His work, normally sprayed on the sides of buildings, has been threatened by thieves before. In June, eight were convicted in Paris over the 2019 theft of a Banksy mural at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris which commemorated the victims of a 2015 terror attack at the venue.