Commemoration of May 8, 1945 in the shadow of the Ukraine war – Melnik criticizes the ban on flags

Updated on 05/08/2022 20:57

  • On May 8th and 9th, the end of World War II is celebrated.
  • The new war in Ukraine dominates this year’s commemoration.
  • Ukrainian Ambassador Melnik commemorated the Ukrainian soldiers and criticized the ban on the raising of flags.

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A warning on a new war: With commemorative events and rallies, people in many places in Germany commemorated the end of World War II in Europe 77 years ago. Berlin alone witnessed dozens of events on Sunday. In view of the war in Ukraine, police were deployed in large numbers to prevent possible conflicts and to limit pro-war pro-Russia activities. There were no major accidents until evening.

In a televised address commemorating May 8, 1945, Chancellor Olaf Schulz emphasized Germany’s historical responsibility in supporting Ukraine against Russia’s war of aggression. “We learned a major lesson from the disastrous history of our country between 1933 and 1945,” Schultz said, according to the text of the speech. It read: “Never again war. Never again genocide. Never again tyranny.”

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Berlin that one of the lessons of May 8, 1945 was that Europeans should not be allowed to separate again because of aggressive nationalism and peoples’ hatred. He described the war in Ukraine as a “hiatus”.

Commemorating the end of World War II: Banning the Russian and Ukrainian flags

On May 8, 1945, World War II in Europe ended with the surrender of the German Wehrmacht. In addition, Russia celebrates its most important holiday on May 9, “Victory Day” over Nazi Germany.

And in Berlin, conditions were imposed on 15 memorial sites, including a ban on the Russian and Ukrainian flags. Interior Minister Nancy Visser had earlier announced consistent measures against the glorification of the Ukraine war. “I am very grateful to the police for their deployment of very strong forces on May 8 and 9 to prevent actions glorifying the Russian war of aggression and Russian war crimes,” the SPD politician told the German Liberation Network.

Ukrainian Ambassador Andrei Melnik laid a wreath at the Soviet War Memorial in Tiergarten in Berlin in memory of Ukrainian soldiers who died in World War II. Veterans and members of the Ukrainian army were also present. A few dozen people kept chanting “Melnyk out.” Other participants then responded by chanting slogans of Ukrainian supporters.

Wreaths for Nazi victims in the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

Despite the ban, isolated Ukrainian or red flags associated with the Soviet Union were displayed in Berlin. According to the police, officials intervened several times, including when raising Ukraine’s 25-meter flag. Diplomats and World War II veterans were exempted from the ban. Ambassador Melnik, the Ukrainian federations and the opposition in the House of Representatives had earlier criticized the ban on flags in clear terms.

In the Postdam, the Brandenburg State Parliament commemorated the liberation from National Socialism and the end of the war in Europe. Head of state Ulrike Lidtke and Prime Minister Dietmar Wadecke (both SPD) called for peace and reconciliation. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Prime Minister Manuela Schweizig laid a wreath at the “Mother” monument in Rabin Steinfeld near Schwerin.

Wreaths were laid at the site of the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Lower Saxony to commemorate the victims. In light of the war in Ukraine, victims from the former Soviet Union are the focus of the celebration this year, according to the Lower Saxony Memorial Foundation.

Supporters celebrate Putin in hundreds of cars in Cologne

In Cologne, Russia’s war against Ukraine brought thousands into the streets for very different reasons. In the morning there was a motorbike parade on the outskirts of the cathedral city, where about 150 people, according to the police, expressed their support for Russia. Later, about 1,000 people in several hundred vehicles gathered at the Fühlinger See on the outskirts of the city for a parade – among them were many supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the late afternoon, a pro-Ukrainian demonstration was held at the shipyard in Deutz, in which 10,000 people registered.

In Freiburg, about 80 cars drove through the city in a parade under the slogan “Against discrimination against Russian-speaking people – for a speedy peace in Europe.”

More commemorative events are scheduled for Monday. (mt/dspa)

On the day commemorating the end of World War II, Chancellor Olaf Schultz addresses the audience.

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