Ukrainians in the eastern city of Kharkiv have felled one of its most prominent Russian symbols – a statue of Soviet icon Vladimir Lenin.
Groups of men scrambled onto the monument in the center square and carved the words “Glory to Ukraine” on it before sawing off the legs and pulling it down with cables.
“Glory to Ukraine” has been a battle cry used by Ukrainians to show their opposition to what they and the West see as Russia’s intervention in Ukraine through a staged separatist rebellion in the country’s east, preceded by Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
Thousands of demonstrators cheered and rushed to grab parts of the dismantled statue for souvenirs. Police did not intervene.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook website “Let him fall,” noting that local authorities had already decided to pull down the Lenin statue – the largest of its kind in Ukraine – anyway.
More than 160 Lenin monuments have been toppled in Ukraine in less than a year.
Also Sunday, U.S. Barack Obama said on CBS television’s 60 Minutes that he thinks there is a possibility Russia will move in what he calls a “better direction.”
He noted that such progress in Ukraine – including a cease-fire with the separatists, a gas deal with Moscow and sanctions that have hurt the Russian economy – would not have happened without a firm line from the U.S. that also gives Russia the chance to take a different path.
YouTube video by Maidan Monitoring: