September 26, 2023


BERLIN — Authorities in Berlin have banned Russian and Ukrainian flags from being flown near the city’s memorials this weekend as people commemorate the 77th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

“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 Berlin police said in a statement on Friday. “The war must not be allowed to spill over into conflicts or disputes in Berlin beyond the democratic discourse.”

After the defeat of the Nazis, monuments were erected throughout Berlin to commemorate Soviet loss of life during the war. For example, the 12-meter-tall Soviet War Memorial in the eastern borough of Treptow shows a Soviet soldier breaking a swastika with his sword. Such monuments are expected to be popular gathering points this weekend for those who condemn the current war and those who defend it.

The police said that as well as a ban on Russian and Ukrainian flags near such sites, the playing of military music is also prohibited.

“We will protect dignified commemoration at 15 memorials and monuments through comprehensive regulations designed to prevent any confrontation at these sites,” said police chief Barbara Slowik. “At the same time, we are taking action against any form of support, approval, or even glorification of Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine, especially in gatherings.”

In early April, hours after pictures of the massacre in Bucha outside Kyiv were published, a 400-car-strong pro-Putin motorcade drove through Berlin, drawing fierce criticism from across Germany and beyond.


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