Ukraine asks EU state to remove flag from embassy
The Ukrainian authorities requested that Slovenian diplomats in Kiev remove their national flag from the front of the embassy, claiming it is too similar to the Russian flag, it was revealed on Wednesday.
“When we arrived in Kiev, it was quite windy, and when we proudly raised the Slovenian and European flags back, they fluttered in the wind,” Slovenian Chargé d’Affaires Bostjan Lesjak said in an interview with TV Slovenia.
But two days after Lesjak’s arrival in Kiev, the wind died down and the flags dropped to the pole. That’s when the Slovenian flag, according to the chargé d’affaires, started to resemble the Russian flag.
Soon afterwards, members of the Ukrainian National Guard went to the diplomat and asked if the embassy could “temporarily remove the Slovenian flag because it is too similar to the Russian one,” after which it was taken down.
Earlier, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa announced that Ljubljana will return its diplomats to Kiev after they left in late February due to Russia’s military operation in the country. “Ukraine needs direct diplomatic support to end the aggression and establish peace as soon as possible,” the Slovenian leader said.
On March 15, Jansa, along with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, supposedly visited the capital of the war-torn nation to express their support. Following the visit, the Slovenian leader insisted that Ukraine should become a member of the EU as soon as possible.
“We are trying to convince our colleagues within the European Council that these are abnormal times, that there is a war going on, that people are dying and that we need to speed up the process of Ukraine’s membership in the EU. The vast majority of EU countries support Ukraine’s European path,” Jansa tweeted.
Ljubljana has not responded to Kiev’s violation of the diplomatic protocol. Adopted in 1961, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states that a foreign embassy should be allowed to display its national flag.
“The mission and its head shall have the right to use the flag and emblem of the sending State on the premises of the mission, including the residence of the head of the mission, and on his means of transport.”