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Moldovan President Signs Law Banning Symbols Of Russia Aggression; Lithuanian Parliament Passes Similar Ban

By RFE/RL's Moldovan Service April 19, 2022

Moldovan President Maia Sandu has signed into law a bill banning the ribbon of St. George, a black and orange military symbol of Russian patriotism and aggression against Ukraine, as well as the signs "Z" and "V" used by Russian armed forces to mark their vehicles and equipment during Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Sandu endorsed the law, which envisions punishment by a fine of at least 900 lei ($49) for making, wearing, or displaying the banned symbols, on April 19, five days after Moldovan lawmakers approved it.

Russian military vehicles in Ukraine are marked with the letter Z, and it has started appearing on social media and on clothing elsewhere in support of the war.

Former Moldovan President Igor Dodon criticized Sandu for signing the law, accusing her of what he called "fighting symbols instead of poverty."

Dodon also vowed to organize a Victory March on May 9 that has been marked in Russia and several other former Soviet republics on that day each year, but in recent years turned into a tool of the Russian propaganda to justify its aggression against Ukraine, namely Moscow's illegal annexation of Crimea and its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014.

Last month, Sandu signed a formal application for Moldova to join the European Union, hastening its planned pro-Western course in the wake of Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Lithuania's parliament approved a similar bill that outlaws the ribbon of St. George, as well as thw"Z" and "V" signs, on April 19.

Last week, Ukrainian lawmakers also banned the Russian symbols in public places, commercials, clothes, media, and social networks.

On April 19, Lithuania's parliament approved a bill similar to the one signed by Sandu to ban public displays of the letter Z, the ribbon of St George, and other symbols seen as expressing support for the invasion.

The Lithuanian law says fines for breaching the ban should be raised to 900 euros ($827) for people and up to 1,500 euros for companies.

Lawmakers in Vilnius added the provision to an earlier ban on "the symbols of totalitarian or authoritarian regimes used in the past or currently used to promote military aggression, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed or perpetrated by them."

Last week, Ukrainian lawmakers also banned the Russian symbols in public places, commercials, clothes, media, and social networks.

With reporting by Current Time, Adevarul, Delfi, and Stir

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/moldova-bans-russian- symbols-sandu-ukraine/31811318.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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