Friendship Arch was built in Ukraine capital Kyiv to celebrate the
friendship between Russia and Ukraine to commemorate the 60th anniversary
of the Soviet Union. On Tuesday, the friendship monument went down. Kyiv mayor
Vitali Klitschko said the dismantling of the monument was a response to Russia’s
invasion of Ukraine.
“We now see what
this ‘friendship’ is – destruction of Ukrainian cities…killing tens of
thousands of peaceful people. I am convinced such a monument has an entirely
different meaning now,” Klitschko said.
The monument, a
Ukrainian and Russian worker on a plinth, hold aloft a Soviet order of
friendship. First, the bronze heads were removed. Then, a crane lifted the monument
and put it on the ground amid chants of “Glory to Ukraine”.
Myrhodorsky, one of the designers, said, “Russia invaded Ukraine…Can we be
friends with Russia? What do you think? This is our worst enemy, that’s why the
monument to Russia-Ukrainian friendship doesn’t make sense anymore.”
On February 24,
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “special military operation” in
Ukraine that has left thousands of people dead. Towns have been reduced to
rubble and over five million people have had to migrate.
“We should not
have any relations with the nation of aggressors…no friendship, no relations,
nothing,” said Diana, a young woman who spoke to Reuters. The arch will now be
renamed Arch of Freedom of the Ukrainian People, Kyiv mayor said.
Controversy has surrounded
the arch since Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. At the time, a group of activists
pained a large crack on the top.