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    Finland to return seized art works to Russia

    (Reuters) -Finland will return to Russia some Russian art works seized by Finnish customs, the country's foreign ministry said on Friday.

    Finnish customs had stopped three shipments of art works worth around 42 million euros ($46 million) to check whether they were classed as luxury goods and were therefore subject to economic sanctions.

    Exceptions for cultural artefacts in the European Union sanction rules will become effective on April 9, after which the foreign ministry will grant customs officials permission to release the art works, the ministry said.

    The paintings, statues and antiques had been on loan from Russian museums in Italy and Japan.

    Russian Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova earlier said the paintings would return to Russia at the weekend.

    (Reporting by Reuters staff and Essi Lehto in Helsinki; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Hugh Lawson)




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