Ukrainian radicals vandalize Russian banks as police look on (VIDEO)
Ukrainian nationalists have spray-painted graffiti and plastered flyers all over the offices of Russian-owned Alfa Bank and Sberbank in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev. The vandals proceeded unimpeded in plain view of police as some officers took photos.
Footage posted by RT’s video agency Ruptly shows a bunch of young men, wearing dark blue jackets with words “National Corps” written on their backs, painting political slogans and gluing posters to the offices of two Russian banks. Sberbank is a state bank, while Alfa Bank is privately owned.
“In the city of Nikolayev, as well as across Ukraine, the action has been organized by All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda, the National Corps and the Right Sector,” one of the activists at the offices of Sberbank said in Ukrainian.
National Corps is a Ukrainian far-right nationalist party formed last year on the basis of the Azov Civil Corps, a regiment of Ukraine’s National Guard, and veterans of another far-right armed group, the militant Azov battalion.
The Right Sector, described as a far-right and neo-fascist party, has been one of the major forces behind the Ukrainian military coup that saw President Viktor Yanukovych in February deposed in 2014.
The nationalists taking part in the defacing of the bank offices were operating in broad daylight, with onlookers and police alike watching without showing any intent to intervene.
Multiple blue and yellow posters plastered onto the Sberbank’s offices walls, windows and doors read “#rusbankover.” The same was sprayed onto its walls with a red paint. The activists also used black paint to scribble “Get out of Ukraine” and “Kremlin’s allies.”
Members of the same group have staged a similarly hashtagged “action” at the offices of Alfa Bank located in a business center, while shouting anti-Russian slogans. The scene soon drew attention of passersby and police.
While some of the onlookers cheered on the vandals, police officers in full gear were standing nearby and did nothing to discourage the vandalism. A female officer even captured the moment on her smartphone while sporting a smile.
It is not the first time that Russian banks have become targets of nationalist attacks in Ukraine, with far-right groups using vandalism in broad daylight apparently to score political points. Earlier in March, the activists, reportedly from the Azov battalion and the Right Sector, built a brick wall blocking the entrance and windows of a Sberbank office in central Kiev. The perpetrators were heralded by a member of the Ukrainian parliament, Andrey Biletsky, who is also a founder of the National Corps.
Following the incident, Russian authorities strongly urged Kiev to secure Russian banks operating on its territory, with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, saying that such action by “lynch mobs” runs against the law and “undermines property rights protected by Ukrainian legislation.”
The glaring police inaction in view of such scenes has been known to happen before. The Russian Embassy in Kiev has come under three major attacks since conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out in 2014. Nationalist mobs have vandalized the premises and vehicles parked at the embassy in June 2014, March 2016 and most recently in September when radicals launched a barrage of firecrackers at the building ahead of the Russian parliamentary election.