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VIENNA, April 19. /TASS/. A monument to Soviet soldiers in Budapest’s central Freedom Square was vandalized by bursting balloons filled with yellow paint on it, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Hungary, Tigran Garibyan, said.
"Two demonstrators, who are taking part in the current protests against the Hungarian authorities, approached the monument in the evening and, while broadcasting their actions live via Facebook, threw two balloons filled with yellow paint at our monument. After that they just sat down on by the structure and waited for the police to arrest them, which happened almost immediately," the Russian diplomat said.
Both were charged with an administrative offense.
"They faced trial on Tuesday and were fined," Garibyan said.
According to the country’s MTI news agency, both perpetrators were slapped with a 96-euro-fine.
"The monument sustained no damage. Police, municipal authorities and our employees arrived at the scene almost immediately, and this paint was removed," the spokesman added. "The monument was put under additional protection by the police, and we are keeping in close contact with the authorities."
According to the Russian embassy, the incident was not directed against Russia and took place against the backdrop of anti-government rallies in the Hungarian capital.
Acts of vandalism against Soviet monuments are rare in the country, although calls to relocate the monument are voiced from time to time. The Hungarian government has so far rejected all such initiatives, citing the 1995 memorandum to jointly care for military memorials.
The 14-meter monument honoring Red Army soldiers who died fighting to liberate Budapest in late 1944 was put up in the city’s central Freedom Square in 1945. A mass grave under the monument was moved to a city cemetery in 1958.