Russian forces ‘arresting people for wearing colours of Ukraine flag’

Ukrainian flag  (PA Wire)
Ukrainian flag (PA Wire)

Russian security officials have begun arresting people for wearing colours similar to the Ukrainian flag, British defence chiefs claim.

In its latest intelligence update, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the Russian National Guard has interpreted wartime legislation to mean that public displays of blue and yellow are outlawed.

The MoD cited reports of a care home worker who was arrested for wearing a blue and yellow jacket to work. Another man, aged 22, was also detained for displaying the blue and yellow flag of Russia’s own Aerospace Forces in Volkhov near St Petersburg.

The MoD said the clampdown shows a “paranoid Russian officialdom” in an “increasingly totalitarian” system.

They wrote: “Some local Russian security officials are likely interpreting Russia’s draconian wartime legislation to mean that public display of blue and yellow items is outlawed because it might evidence discreet support for Ukraine.

“On 09 May 2023, a care home worker was reportedly arrested after wearing a blue and yellow jacket to work.

“In recent days, Russian National Guard troops arrested a 22 year old man in Volkhov near St Petersburg for displaying which was eventually determined to be the blue and yellow flag of Russia’s own Aerospace Forces.”

The MoD added: “The clampdown highlights uncertainty within a paranoid Russian officialdom of what is and is [not] deemed permissible within an increasingly totalitarian system.

“Criticism of the arrests has come from an unexpected quarter: the ultra-nationalist, pro-war Liberal Democratic party. The party’s own branding features yellow on a blue background.”

It comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that Ukraine was ready to launch a counter-offensive to recapture Russian-occupied territory.

He said: “We strongly believe that we will succeed. I don’t know how long it will take.

“But we are going to do it and we are ready.”

Kyiv hopes that taking back land will change the dynamics of the war.

Mr Zelensky said last month that he was waiting for more armoured vehicles to arrive before starting the campaign.

Russia holds Ukrainian territory in the East, South and South East.