Speculation is growing that world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy is in Ukraine after a piece of art in his style appeared on a missile-damaged building.
The new painting, the suburb of Borodyanka, near Kyiv, depicts a child throwing a man to the floor in a judo outfit.
It is believed this may be a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was removed from his position as honorary president of the International Judo Federation in May
Images of the work are being shared on social media back in the UK by associates of Banksy in the street art world.
But there is no confirmation, as yet, on Banksy’s official Instagram feed, and queries to his representative in this country are still awaiting a response.
Ed Ram, a photojournalist who is in Ukraine working for photo agency Getty, said Borodyanka had been hit hard by Russian air strikes in the first weeks of the war.
Writing on Instagram, he posted: “I wonder if it might be a Banksy or an imitation? Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was a black belt in judo, was removed from his position as honorary president of the International Judo Federation in May.”
The image of the art was also shared by Martyn Reed, an artist, curator and event manager, Bristol Live reports.
He said: “It’s beginning to look like Banksy is in Ukraine. There was some debate when the first stencil appeared, but surely this dispels any doubt. Expect to see more popping up in the coming days.”
Banksy, from Bristol, has ventured into some of the world’s conflict zones in the past.
He has travelled to Palestine many times, first to paint on or near a huge wall erected by the Israelis, and then to open a guesthouse called The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, which opened in 2017 temporarily, but is still open to visitors today.
Back in the UK, Banksy has recently returned to painting in Bristol after moving back to the West Country.
He painted another in the Girl with a Red Balloon series in the city’s Barton Hill and then painted “Aachoo” on the wall at the bottom of England’s steepest residential street, Vale Street in the Totterdown neighbourhood.