Ukraine: Zelensky gives powerful Victory Day address
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German police in Berlin have sparked outrage after video footage emerged showing officers tearing down a Ukrainian flag. Videos shared online showed Berlin police intervene when activists unfurled a huge Ukrainian flag at a World War Two memorial service this afternoon. The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, had called the ban on the Ukrainian flag “a slap in the face of the Ukrainian people”.
Stefan Hennewig, a German politician from the opposition CDU party, said the footage of the police crackdown was “shameful”.
The disturbing video shared online showed the moment the police controversially confiscate a Ukrainian flag.
Michael MacKay, a security expert, tweeted: £In Berlin, police take away a Ukrainian flag. Today is the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation in Ukraine – known as Victory in Europe Day in other countries.
“These are disturbing images – a sign strategic corruption by the Russian fascist regime goes very deep in Germany.”
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He continued: “Berlin authorities established moral equivalency between a Russian fascist flag and the flag of defender Ukraine.
“The moral compass of the Berlin government is so screwed up they cannot possibly navigate the war in Europe or the reality of life in the 21st century.”
Berlin police officers were following orders set out earlier this week when German authorities banned the display of Ukrainian flags near memorials in Berlin.
Police officials defended the move, saying they did not want sentiment at Vladimir Putin’s war to “spill over” into Second World War commemorations.
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The officials tweeted: “In order to secure the peaceful, dignified commemoration, our colleagues rolled up a 25m-long Ukrainian flag.”
In an earlier statement, Berlin police explained the ban: “The act of remembering, as well as the respect for memorials and monuments, must be preserved against the background of Russia’s current war of aggression in Ukraine.
“The war must not be allowed to spill over into conflicts or disputes in Berlin beyond the democratic discourse.”
Some 1,600 police officers have been deployed in Berlin alone on Sunday.
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The Ukrainian ambassador rebuked the defense, saying: “This not only shows a lack of tact; it is a catastrophic political decision.”
Germany has been criticized for not taking a hard enough stance against Russia following the invasion.
Last week Germany buckled under pressure after its initial refusal to provide Ukraine with heavy weapons sparked intense international pressure and prompted a humiliating U-turn.
It has also been notable that German chancellor Olaf Scholz has not yet visited Kyiv, unlike Boris Johnson and other European leaders.
Ukraine’s President Zelensky had called on Chancellor Scholz to send a message by visiting Kyiv on Victory Day, instead of the usual annual trip to Moscow.
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