Sword piercing Russia and Diablo III angel? Ukraine war memorial image mirrors video game character
The monument was unveiled on the outskirts of Kiev by the Public Organization of ATO Veterans – Anti-Terrorist Operation, or ATO, which is how the government describes its campaign against rebels in the east of the country.
The sword in the Russian map drew a swift and strong reaction from Moscow, with the deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for Defense and Security, Franz Klintsevich, describing it as a “rare combination of hatred and rudeness” and showing “not a hint of grief.”
But other online observers focused attention on the picture of an angel on the base of the monument. It is brandishing a sword and shield, with its wings painted in the yellow-and-blue of the Ukrainian flag.
"This is an image of the guardian angel of our soldiers with a sword that protects our heroes who defend the country from enemies," said Yevgeny Yarantsev, a spokesman of the veterans organization.
However, closer examination reveals a striking resemblance to the angel Tyrael, the Archangel of Justice from the dark fantasy roleplaying game Diablo III.
Posts comparing the two images appeared online.
Похоже, что мемориал воинам АТО делал фанат Diablo III pic.twitter.com/NVAsa1sSjK— uncle Lem (@uncleLem) August 16, 2017
Чёта ржу. На украинском памятнике бойцам АТО изображён постер игры Diablo III pic.twitter.com/Zmt2JQPlh7— Выпускайте Кракена! (@rlz_the_kraken) August 15, 2017
The Ukrainian government has accused Russia of fanning the flames in the conflict in eastern Ukraine which has been raging there since 2014. This has been accompanied by fierce anti-Russian rhetoric by the government and media as well as widespread censorship of “enemy propaganda," defined as anything even vaguely sympathetic to Russia or the rebels. Moscow has strongly denied the accusations, noting the nationalist atmosphere which has taken hold in Ukraine since the 2014 coup.