Dozens of vehicles with Russian flags and emblems took part in a convoy to Athlone marking the 77th anniversary of ‘Victory Day’ when German Nazi forces were defeated.
Ardaí monitored the group’s movements as they headed west down the M6.
Many cars had large flags and photos of Russian personalities. Some were stretched over the hoods of cars while flags were hoisted from the windows of others.
When they were out in crowds around 11 a.m., they were followed by Gardaí on motorcycles. The Irish Independent watched as Gardaí instructed two motorcyclists to proceed after they stopped at the side of the motorway to film the procession.
Gardaí were also stationed on flyover bridges along the M6 motorway, observing traffic movements below.
The convoy was so long it took almost five minutes to pass a single point on the road near the town of Kilbeggan in Co Westmeath.
An official Russian “Victory Day” rally, scheduled to take place today at the Pontifical Cross in Phoenix Park, was denied by the Office of Public Works (OPW) last week.
The rally was planned to commemorate Russia’s victory over the Nazis during World War II and the sacrifices made by Russian soldiers during the war. It is a day celebrated by Russian communities around the world.
The OPW had requested a signed compensation form and event safety management plan and appropriate insurance coverage and the event organizers were expected to meet with the OPW and Gardai, but not all requirements were met and the event was denied approval .
There was criticism of Russian supporters in Ireland last month after an event where they drove vehicles bearing the ‘Z’ symbol along a section of the M50 and towards Swords in north Dublin.
Ukrainians in Ireland at the time protested the ban on the “Z” symbol used by Russian forces on military vehicles, comparing it to the swastika symbols used by the Nazis.
Meanwhile, hundreds of members of the Ukrainian community in Ireland today held a peace march from the GPO on O’Connell Street to St Stephen’s Green.
“On this day 77 years ago, the unconditional surrender of Nazi German forces was signed and people around the world felt joy. Finally there was peace and a good, bright future,” said Nick Koslov of the Ukraine Crisis Center, addressing the crowd.
He said Ukraine’s human and material losses during World War II were enormous, with between five and seven million Ukrainians killed and 700 towns and 28,000 villages destroyed.
“Under Stalin’s rule, Russia tried to appropriate the great victory of the civilized world over fascism. Stalin removed from the price list the name of the Ukrainian lieutenant Alexei Berest, who was one of the first to hoist the victory flag over the Reichstag in Berlin.”
“We are experiencing challenging times right now. We do not know if the new leader’s hand will not press the “nuclear button”. We start each day by looking at our iPhones, smartphones and computers to read the news. We think of our dear Ukraine every minute. We worry about our soldiers who defend our relatives and friends, our cultural heritage and the most important values - independence and freedom of our fatherland,” he added.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland Gerasko Larysa said war came to Ukraine when they never expected it.
“77 years ago we started saying ‘never again’ when commemorating the victims of World War II, but this (war) has come back to our country,” she said.
“We call on world leaders for more support and for more defensive and offensive weapons to defeat our enemy. And we ask for more financial support and for tougher sanctions to be imposed on Russia,” Ms. Larysa added.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/ukrainians-mark-v-day-by-calling-for-more-sanctions-against-russia-41628204.html Ukrainians celebrate “V-Day” by calling for more sanctions against Russia