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Police investigate swastikas spray-painted on Ukrainian lobby

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Police are investigating a report of vandalism which saw swastikas spray-painted on the Ukrainian National Federation hall in central Edmonton.

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Ivan Lypovyk, president of the Ukrainian National Federation (UNF), said the federation reported the vandalism to police shortly after discovering the symbols on the building and nearby banners on Friday morning. The targeted banner in the colors of the Ukrainian flag read “Stop Putin” and “Stop War” in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country’s war against Ukraine.

While the graffiti has since been removed, the federation refuses to back down from the act.

“We think we’ll hang up the banner just to show how Ukrainians are feeling around the world these days,” he said. “We are going to be even stronger than we were.”

In a statement on Friday, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress said it was asking Edmonton police to investigate the case as a hate crime.

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In a statement late Friday, Edmonton police said they had received the report but could not provide any additional information at this stage of the investigation.

Yaroslav Broda, president of the Edmonton branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), said the vandalism is particularly hurtful because many members of the local Ukrainian community and their ancestors are victims of Nazism.

“To be painted with this brush – it’s quite overwhelming,” Broda said. “And that shows how pervasive Russian propaganda is, even in Canada.”

In March, the Russian Embassy in Canada issued a statement insisting that Russia was undertaking a “special military operation” to “demilitarize and denazify Ukraine”.

The vandalism at the venue follows an alleged assault in March outside an Oilers game in which local members of the Ukrainian community were allegedly ‘punched, kicked and grabbed by the neck’ by a group of men talking and shouting in Russian.

— With files from Postmedia