Ukraine criticizes Russia’s reaction to Victory Day violence

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday expressed regret over Moscow’s statements on the violence that broke out between Ukrainian nationalists and WWII veterans during May 9 World War Two Victory Day celebrations in Lvov.

Members of the Ukrainian Svoboda (Freedom) nationalist organization engaged in a scuffle with WWII veterans, tore and burnt Soviet flags, and trod on a wreath that the Russian consul general in Lvov, Oleg Astakhov, planned to lay at the tombs of Soviet soldiers who died while liberating Ukraine from Nazi Germany.

“We expect that those guilty will be found by local law enforcement agencies and receive the punishment that they deserve, and that similar situations will be excluded from the practice of bilateral relations,” Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on May 10.

“Unfortunately, the Russian reaction to the events in Lvov has shown that the instruments from the arsenal of the former anti-Ukrainian campaigns have not been tossed onto the scrap-heap of history,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Dikusarov said at a press conference.

Dikusarov emphasized that Ukraine understands Russia’s sensitivity to problems of nationalism and xenophobia. “We are ready to counter this evil jointly,” he added.

Dikusarov also expressed hope that Ukraine and Russia would show the world the way forward in issues of tolerance and mutual respect in such sensitive issues as historical memory and state identity.

KIEV, May 11 (RIA Novosti)

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