Russian World War II monument vandalised on Danish island

A Russian monument to World War II soldiers on Danish island Bornholm has been painted on using the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

A file photo of the Russian obelisk on Danish island Bornholm
A file photo of the Russian obelisk on Danish island Bornholm, which honours Soviet soldiers killed in World War II. Photo: Pelle Rink/Ritzau Scanpix

The monument, an obelisk at the Russian cemetery in the town of Allinge on the Baltic Sea island, was partly painted over in blue and yellow paint on Sunday, local broadcaster TV2 Bornholm reports.

The paint was used to change a written tribute to fallen Russian soldiers on the monument to a message expressing support for Ukraine during the ongoing invasion by Russia, which began on February 24th this year.

The church in Allinge has reported the damage to the monument to police, according to the report.

The Russian cemetery on Bornholm is one of a small number of locations in Denmark at which Russia marks the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

The Russian ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir Barbin, customarily marks Russia’s Victory Day – May 9th – by laying a wreath at the cemetery.

Broadcaster DR reported on Monday that was unlikely to happen this year amid poor diplomatic relations between Russia and Denmark and local opposition on Bornholm to Barbin visiting the island in the context of the Russian war in Ukraine. The Russian embassy has not confirmed to DR whether the ambassador has cancelled plans to go to Bornholm.

While most of Denmark was liberated by the advance of British soldiers at the end of World War II, this was not the case on Bornholm, which is located 200 kilometres east of Copenhagen in the Baltic Sea and is closer to Poland than Denmark as the crow flies.

Soviet Soldiers arrived on Bornholm as the German occupation ended and remained until the following spring in 1946.

READ ALSO: Why do Danes place candles in their windows on May 4th?

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Danish business authority reports Russian organisations to police

The Danish Business Authority (Erhvervsstyrelsen) has reported two government-controlled Russian organisations in Denmark to the police.

Danish business authority reports Russian organisations to police

The Business Authority suspects the two organisations of skirting EU sanctions, it confirmed to newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

The two organisations, which operate in Denmark, have had their assets frozen in the Nordic country.

The Business Authority told Jyllands-Posten that it had undertaken investigations following reporting by the newspaper on the Russian organisations.

Both organisations – Rossotrudnichestvo and Russkiy Mir – are on the EU’s sanctions list.

The EU and experts say that Rossotrudnichestvo is part of Russia’s “soft power” apparatus and part of Moscow’s information war against the West. The organisation has offices in 79 countries.

“This organisation plays a quite special role as the extended arm of the Kremlin and is very visible in several EU countries where in can act to undermine,” senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Flemming Splidsboel, has previously told Jyllands-Posten.

Rossotrudnichestvo is part of the Russian interior ministry and its Danish office is based out of the country’s Copenhagen embassy. Its official purpose is related to cultural, educational and social activities.

In its justifications for sanctions against the organisation, the EU states that it “funds various public diplomacy and propaganda projects, consolidating the activities of pro-Russian players and disseminating the Kremlin’s narratives, including historical revisionism”.