In Berlin, a wrecked Russian tank, the barrel pointed towards the embassy

&In Berlin, a wrecked Russian tank, gun pointing up embassy


A wrecked Russian tank on display in front of the Embassy in Berlin, gun pointed towards the entrance. It is a powerful image on Friday of commemorations in Europe of the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine. 

The scene is striking, right in the center of the German capital, at a few steps from the iconic Brandenburg Gate: activists towed a Russian tank past the embassy overnight.

This unusual image attracted many curious people on Friday morning, including classes on a school visit to the German capital.

“We were passing by and we saw a crowd, it’s weird to see a tank like that” right in Berlin, Allen Eapen, a 22-year-old Indian student in the capital, told AFP.The tank, type T-72 B1, dating from 1985, was destroyed, probably by a mine, on March 31, 2022 near Boutcha, in the suburbs of Kyiv. Part of the tracks are crushed, as is the turret, partly pulverized.

The khaki color has been burnished in places by the flames. Many bullet holes are visible on the carcass, proof according to the initiators of the project that the armored vehicle “actively participated in combat”. The barrel of the 44-ton tank and nearly 2.3 meters high is intact and points towards the headquarters of the Russian Embassy, ​​on Unter den Linden Avenue.

“It's impressive, it's a good way (of protest) to demonstrate in front of the embassy,” notes Lorenzo Graif, a 22-year-old Chilean who is also studying in Berlin.

“We see this reality, whereas usually it is far away”, on the battlefield, explains to AFP Sabine Ertl, a German on vacation with her family.

After a long standoff with the town hall of Berlin, the organizers of this demonstration obtained the authorization to expose the wreckage, which comes from the museum of military history of Kyiv and is visible until Sunday. “We want to put their scrap metal in front of the terrorists' door”, explains one of the initiators, Wieland Giebel.

“We want to protest against the Russian aggression and express our solidarity”, specifies to AFP the lawyer Bender Harrer Krevet, one of the initiators.

The Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Oleksii Makeiev, is due to visit the wreckage site during the day. A demonstration of support for Ukraine is also planned for the beginning of the afternoon on this large avenue in the city center.

Near the tank, a sort of three-meter box has been on display for several weeks. out of three, exact replica of the cell of Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny that passers-by can visit.

Spilled paint

One year to the day later the Russian invasion of Ukraine, demonstrations of support and solidarity with the Ukrainians are increasing in Europe.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was illuminated Thursday evening in yellow and blue colors, like the buildings of the European Commission and Parliament in Brussels or the National Theater in Warsaw and the Place d'Armes, in the heart of Luxembourg.

In front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, the colors of Ukraine were hoisted. The Portuguese Parliament and most of the parties marked the first anniversary by observing a minute of silence.

In London, liters of paint were dumped in front of the Russian Embassy to repaint the roadway in Ukrainian colors and hundreds of people gathered in Trafalgar Square. When asked, Kenia Miletska said she was surprised at the level of support in the United Kingdom: “It's incredible, when you wear a Ukrainian flag, people tell you 'Slava Ukraini' (glory to Ukraine, editor's note) They know what it means”.

In Berlin on Thursday evening, the peace sign was drawn with the help of ten candles at the foot of the Brandenburg Gate.