Unidentified vandals deface Ukrainian flags in pro-Russian act at US university

March 4,2024 835
Unidentified vandals deface Ukrainian flags in pro-Russian act at US university

Unknown individuals vandalized Ukrainian symbols on the campus of the University of Connecticut in the United States, reported the local Ukrainian Student Association. Letters ‘Z’ – symbols of the Russian army and the emblem of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – were painted over the blue and yellow ribbons. 

We are shocked and disheartened to see that this has happened on our own campus. To us, the freedom of Ukraine represents our family traditions, our culture, our language, and our identity. To the rest of the world, it represents the border between the free democratic world and totalitarian dictatorship. Aggressions like this are a painful reminder of the war; what it has done to our families and loved ones, and what it could mean for the state of democracy in the entire free world,” students wrote.

The incident occurred after a peaceful student event commemorating the second anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in the ongoing 10-year war. The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) condemned the actions of the vandals and called the incident a hate crime.

The use of the letter “Z” in this context is hardly benign and certainly not “academic freedom of expression.” The letter “Z” is a call to commit genocide against Ukrainians. The criminals responsible for this act are employing it just as Moscow does, as a direct threat to the lives and wellbeing of not only the Ukrainian American students at the University of Connecticut but to all students who support democracy and stand against violence,” the UCCA’s statement reads.

Hate crimes, threats of violence from Russia, or calls for genocide are unacceptable anywhere, especially on a university campus, emphasized the UCCA.

UCCA stands together with the University of Connecticut community in holding dear our shared cherished principles of academic freedom of expression and constructive dialogue. … We expect the University of Connecticut administration will promptly investigate this incident, hold those responsible accountable for their actions and guarantee the safety of their students,” the UCCA stated.

Photos: WFSB; Ukrainian Student Association.

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