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Law enforcement officials in Germany have warned residents who attend the Victory Day military parade celebrations in Berlin, commemorating the end of World War II, not to bring Ukrainian or Russian flags, Berlin authorities said.
In a statement Friday, Berlin authorities said they did not wish the discord of their European neighbors to impact the politics of their country on the 77th anniversary of the end of the war.
Interior Senator Iris Spranger echoed the sentiment, adding: “It is important to prevent provocations and escalations,” RND reported.
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“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,” Berlin police said. “The war must not be allowed to spill over into conflicts or disputes in Berlin beyond the democratic discourse.”
Ukrainian and Russian flags will also be barred at local monuments depicting Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germans.
“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, who also announced the banning of military music. “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.”
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Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk expressed frustration over the ban, calling it “a slap in the face.”
“We are shocked that the Berlin police banned the carrying of Ukrainian-related flags on May 8 and 9,” Melnyk told RND. “This is a slap in the face to Ukraine and a slap in the face to the Ukrainian people,” the ambassador continued.
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Melnyk added: “That the public carrying of the Ukrainian flag in the federal capital is prohibited, just like the Russian one, under which the worst war crimes are committed day and night against the Ukrainian civilian population and tens of thousands of Ukrainians, women, and children, are murdered in cold blood, is a huge scandal. This not only shows a lack of tact, but it is also a catastrophic political decision.”