Domestic intelligence in Germany expects “car parades and demonstrations” on Monday in support of Russia, and possibly the invasion of Ukraine, German media reported on Saturday.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution expects pro-Russian activities to take place on May 9 to mark Victory Day, a public holiday that commemorates the victory of the Soviet army over Germany. Nazi in 1945.
It’s “an ideal date to exploit for Russian propaganda,” intelligence agency chairman Thomas Haldenwang told Sunday’s edition of Die Welt newspaper, seen in advance by the dpa news agency.
‘Z’ symbol possibly displayed
“On this day of May 9, pro-Russian activities such as car parades and demonstrations are to be expected across Germany, possibly also showing the ‘Z’ symbol of the Russian army invading Ukraine “, said Haldenwang, according to dpa.
Police in several states in Germany have opened investigations into public displays of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
More than 140 investigations have been launched, most involving the use of the “Z” symbol which has been seen at several protests in Germany alongside Russian flags.
The symbol became associated with the invasion of Russia after many vehicles that Russian forces drove into Ukraine had the letter painted on their side.
Several German states have classified the use of the symbol as a mark of illegal support for the invasion.
Security services are bracing for pro-Russian activity, especially in the capital, Berlin, and in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany’s most populous state, according to a survey by ministries of state. Interior conducted by the newspapers of the Funke media group.
The NRW Interior Ministry noted the “emotionally charged topic”, therefore not ruling out clashes.
Lindner: ‘No one’ should support Putin’s ‘penal regime’
In addition, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper: “No one should declare solidarity with the criminal regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
He said he found it “shocking” that during a Russian war in Europe sympathizers of Putin’s regime would abuse the anniversary of the Nazi defeat.
With material from the dpa news agency.
Edited by: Farah Bahgat