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KIEV, June 15. /TASS/. The Ukrainian organization of war veterans condemns the law banning the St. George ribbon, Chairman of the Kiev organization of war veterans Nikolai Martynov told TASS adding that the law was aimed at inciting social hatred and creating a rift between two fraternal peoples.
"War veterans are appalled at the decision to ban the St. George ribbon as it is a symbol of courage and valor in the face of fascism, which can be seen on military decorations, in particular, on the Order of Glory - the main award that was given to soldiers," Martynov said. "We are confident that the St. George ribbon in no way symbolizes separatism," he added.
War veterans believe that the ban on the St. George ribbon falls within the range of decisions aimed at creating a rift in the Ukrainian society. "This decision is in line with the decommunization law, renaming city streets, banning symbols of our victory and attempts to diminish the role of the Victory Day by declaring it a working day," Martynov pointed out. "All this damages the unity of the Ukrainian people because a large part of society opposes such steps," he said.
War veterans think that the authorities seek to incite hatred between the Ukrainian and Russian people. "They have created a political problem out of the St. George ribbon…which is in line with their unreasonable position aimed at inciting hatred between the Ukrainian and Russian people," Martynov concluded.
The law banning the St. George ribbon, signed by Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko on June 12, came into effect on Thursday.
The new law envisages a fine of 850 to 2,550 hryvnias (roughly $32-96) for the public demonstration of the St. George ribbon, while the ribbon will be confiscated. A repeat violation of this law within a year may entail a penalty of up to 5,100 hryvnias (roughly $192) or an administrative arrest for up to 15 days, as well as the ribbon’s confiscation.
However, the law will not apply to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, whose military awards have the ribbon in their makeup.
The St. George ribbon, consisting of black and orange stripes, is a widely recognized military symbol in Russia. It can be seen in the makeup of many military decorations awarded by the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. It is also considered to be one of the symbols of the Victory Day.