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Ukraine's Foreign Ministry is surprised at Russia's reaction to the situation around Soviet memorials in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry is surprised at Russia's reaction to the situation around Soviet memorials in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov, a ministry spokesman said Tuesday. "Such close attention of the Russian side to protection of monuments and memorial signs in Ukraine is surprising, taking into account that in the Russian Federation... there are plans to remove two memorials in order to use the site for construction and a parking lot," Andrey Deshchitsa said. The Lvov city legislature decided May 10 to remove two monuments classified as "symbols of imperial-Bolshevik domination" and to create a commission that will define memorials that will remain in Lvov. Russia's Foreign Ministry said "attempts to earn political points on fighting memorials and mocking the memory of the fallen can arouse nothing but indignation." Deshchitsa said there was no "mockery" involved, adding that special commissions were in line with the law and that the issue could not be a subject of international consideration. On May 13, bronze garlands were pulled down in Lvov, and the Russian ministry said following the incident that it all happened after the Lvov city council's notorious decision. It called on Ukrainian authorities to "stop such provocations." An aide to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said May 11 the removal of symbols of foreign domination in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov must be decided by a referendum. "If these monuments are not simply symbols of imperial Bolshevik domination, but also masterpieces of art, a special commission needs to be set up before removing them to find out whether they are of historical or cultural value," Oleksandr Bystrushkin, who is in charge of humanitarian issues and the preservation of cultural heritage, said. "Such issues should be decided by a [city] referendum. We need to talk to people in a genuine and open way. Only then will we have a civilized state," Bystrushkin said. The controversy comes shortly after the Estonian government moved the Red Army monument some had derided as a "statue to occupation" and some cherished as a "monument to the victory over the Nazis" from the city center and exhumed the remains of Soviet soldiers buried there. The move triggered protests from the Russian-speaking part of the population, partly stripped of citizenship rights, and of Russian officials and lawmakers
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