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Veterans of WW II in west Ukraine marking VE-Day, nationalists campaigning

May 09, 2013, 18:45 UTC+3
The police had to intervene in the highly explosive situation
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LVOV, May 9 (Itar-Tass) - Soviet veterans of World War II are marking VE-Day in the West-Ukrainian cities of Lvov, Ternopol, and Ivano-Frankovsk, which are widely known as the mainstays ultra-rightwing Ukrainian nationalism, amid the vociferous actions of nationalistic organizations.

Although no clashes between the supporters and opponents of nationalism were registered in the three cities by the time of reporting, a number of provocations did take place.

“Public quiet was maintained thanks to persistent work of the police,” Alexander Rudnyak, a spokesman for the Lvov region Department of the Interior said.

For the first time over a number of years, state flags were not hoisted in Lvov on the occasion of VE-Day, as this was forbidden by a ruling of the district administrative court, which also banned any mass actions on this day.

Activists of the Svoboda nationalistic movement gathered near the Mount of Glory and other memorials to Soviet soldiers in order to watch the flower-laying ceremonies.

They meet the veterans with abusive plaques saying ‘Moskali /the way the nationalistic Ukrainians refer to the Russians - Itar-Tass/ Go Home’ and ‘Off You Go Killers’ and showing a mix of the Soviet-era national emblem - the hammer and sickle - with the swastika, the skull and bones.

Police asked the nationalists to remove the plaques.

A woman, who would later tell the police she was a journalist Yelena Boiko by name, unfolded a replica of the Soviet Banner of Victory near a monument to Soviet soldiers. She also told the policemen her display of the flag could not be qualified as a mass action.

In Ternopol, the local legislators representing the Svoboda party that has the majority of seats in the city hall gathered for a session that passed a ban on the public display of Soviet-era red banners.

To block the veterans’ access to the Eternal Flame, three legislators affiliated with Svoboda organized ‘interviews with citizens’ in the immediate vicinity of the site.

The police cordon had to push the citizens awaiting the interviews aside and thus to make it possible for the veterans to lay flowers.

In Ivano-Frankovsk the nationalists blocked a street to turn the veterans away from the Memorial Gardens. They waved the slogans saying ‘Throw the Red Dusters Away’ and ‘No to the Invaders’ Flag’.

The police had to intervene in the highly explosive situation.


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