BERLIN (Reuters) – Critics have taken aim at Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey after Russian flags were raised in the German capital to show their support for Moscow’s war in Ukraine, while police reportedly confiscated Ukrainian flags on Sunday .
Berlin police on Friday banned the display of Russian and Ukrainian flags in certain locations on May 8 and 9, days commemorating the end of World War II in Europe.
Stefan Evers, the general secretary of Berlin’s Christian Democrats (CDU), the main political rival of Giffey’s Social Democrats (SPD), on Monday shared an image of Russian flags displayed despite the ban, calling it an “embarrassment for Berlin”.
“Ukrainian flags were confiscated yesterday. Today, Putin’s supporters are happily waving the Russian flag at the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park,” Evers continued Twitter.
Kyiv reacted with anger to the ban on the Ukrainian flag over the weekend.
“Berlin made a mistake by banning Ukrainian symbols,” said Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba Twitter on Sunday night, adding it was “deeply wrong to treat them alike with Russian symbols.”
“Taking away a Ukrainian flag from peaceful protesters is an attack on everyone who is now defending Europe and Germany from Russian aggression with this flag in their hands,” he continued.
Giffey responded to the criticism over the weekend, stressing that the ban on flying flags only applies to war memorials and not the city as a whole, but her statement did little to defuse the situation.
CDU MP on Sunday Roderich Kiesewetter, who was in Kyiv last week with party leader Friedrich Merz, also criticized the Ukrainian flag ban.
“I find it extremely worrying that the Ukrainian flag will be banned in Berlin on a commemoration day like today,” gravel weather called. “I find it really alarming that cause and effect are being reversed here and we should expect an incumbent Mayor Giffey to overturn such a police decision.”