KIEV – A statue of Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin was knocked to the ground in southern Ukraine, regional police said Saturday, in what appears to be a continuation of an ongoing string of vandalism attacks on monuments to the Soviet leader.
The statue broke in two when it was toppled over Friday night by unknown vandals, police in the Andreyevo-Ivanovo village in Ukraine’s southern Odessa region said, adding that they had been tipped off to the crime by a local city council member.
Damaging or destroying historical or cultural monuments is punishable by two to five years in prison under Ukrainian law.
A number of Lenin statues across the country have been vandalized since early December amid ongoing protests against the government’s decision to halt a landmark political and free-trade deal with the European Union and, instead, opt for stronger ties with Russia.
One of the first and most notable acts of vandalism took place in the capital, Kiev, on December 8, when a landmark statue of the founder of the Soviet Union was torn down by pro-European protesters in symbolic defiance of Russian influence. Another statue of the Soviet leader was vandalized hours later in the southern town of Kotovsk.