KIEV, May 5 (RAPSI) – MPs Oleksandr Mirnyi and Ihor Miroshnychenko from the nationalist Svoboda party have proposed prohibiting the use of Russian symbols, in particular St. George’s ribbon, in Ukraine.
The UNIAN news agency wrote on Monday that a draft resolution submitted to the Verkhovna Rada proposes “banning the use of the state insignia of the Russian Federation and unrecognized republics, as well as St. George’s ribbon, on the buildings of state agencies, local governments, enterprises and organizations of any form of ownership and also prohibiting private individuals from using these symbols in public.”
The authors write that the violation of the proposed ban should be regarded as “evidence of extremism and separatism” and punished as a crime. Under the bill, the ban does not include Russian symbols used during sport and cultural events that are not part of protest actions.
St. George’s ribbon is orange with three black stripes. It was approved as part of the Soviet Order of Glory introduced in 1943 and awarded for personal military valor. The ribbon was first freely distributed among and worn by civilians in Russia and other former Soviet republics in 2005 as an act of commemorating the victory over fascism in WWII.
On February 22, radicals seized power in violation of the February 21 crisis settlement agreement signed by Ukraine’s opposition leaders and President Viktor Yanukovych in the presence of the French, German and Polish foreign ministers. The Verkhovna Rada announced the deposition of Yanukovych, reinstated the 2004 constitution and set early presidential elections for May 25.
Moscow questions the legitimacy of the Rada’s decisions.
Mass protests led by pro-Russian activists are ongoing in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk. Ukraine saw Friday the bloodiest violence since the February overthrow of Yanukovych, with dozens allegedly killed in clashes between local nationalists and pro-Russian activists across the country.
The highest casualty toll was reported in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa, where 46 people died and over 200 were injured in clashes between nationalists from the Right Sector movement and their opponents. Of the more than 170 people who were detained in the aftermath of the deadly riots, 67 have been released.