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Ukrainian Ambassador calls out Russian forces for use of "Z" symbol

March 7, 2022

In a speech today at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ukraine Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said the letter "Z" emblazoned on Russian military hardware seen in Ukraine is a reference to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, used by the Nazis between 1936 and 1945. He said it means "animals," and reflects an effort on the part of the Russian military to dehumanize Ukrainian civilians. He said "The Russian occupiers are killing Ukrainian children cynically." At the close of his remarks, Ambassador Kyslytsya held up a printed version of a tweet made by the Russian Embassy in London today that reads "The goal of Russia’s special military operation is to stop any war that could take place on Ukrainian territory or that could start from there." Ambassador Kyslytsya suggested, with rhetorical intent, that the officials responsible for the tweet should dial 111 in London to obtain mental health services. Responding to Ambassador Kyslytsya's objection to the Russian force's appropriation of the letter "Z," Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of Russian Federation, said, "We have our opinion of who the animals are, the representatives of the Ukrainian armed forces who for eight years have terrorized the civilian population in Donbas, and this is continuing." Responding to accusations that Russian proposals for humanitarian corridors would funnel fleeing Ukrainians through Belarus, Ambassador Nebenzia said, "Ultimately it will be the choice of the people where they evacuate to."

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