Yesterday, March 18, activists of Ukrainian nationalist parties and organizations held a picket near the Russian Consulate on Maksymilianivska Street in Kharkiv, protesting against holding the presidential election of Russia in the occupied Crimea.
At approximately 8 a.m. about 30 to 50 members of the all-Ukrainian union Svoboda (Freedom in Ukrainian), Pravyi Sector (Right Sector in Ukrainian) and National Corps brought a coffin with an effigy of Putin for a symbolic funeral. The activists also installed the posters saying “Elections on blood,” “Russia = War.” They also exposed a map of Ukraine, poured over with “blood.”
Police surrounded the Russian Consulate building to prevent confrontations. The day before Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov announced that ordinary citizens of Russia would not be able to enter the consulates on March 18.
Therefore only diplomats were allowed on the territory of the Consulate in Kharkiv. Several ordinary Russian citizens who came to vote did not have an opportunity to enter the building. So the activists offered them “to take a selfie with their president laying in a coffin.”
The action was peaceful and lasted until 8 p.m. There were no reports of any offenses within the picketing, the effigy of Putin was left in the street after the event ended.
One incident was reported though – not far from the Russian Consulate the police found a vehicle with Russian diplomatic registration plate, which doors and the car trunk were painted with yellow inscriptions “Krym Nash” (“The Crimea is Ours” in Ukrainian). However, it was not clear whether the act was connected with the picket.
Reference: The protest meetings, similar to the Kharkiv one, were held in Kyiv, Odesa and Lviv. Ukraine called the international community not to recognize the results of the presidential election in Russia in connection with the illegitimate voting in the temporarily occupied Crimea.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: Yuriy Likhota, Ministry of Internal Affairs