The Metropolitan Police in London have arrested four people who painted the road outside the Russian Embassy in Ukrainian colours. The activists from Led By Donkeys said the action was meant to remind Russian President Vladimir Putin of Ukraine’s right to self-determination ahead of the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine.
On February 19, 2022, the group poured 170 litres of yellow paint on the eastbound carriageway of Bayswater Road and an equal amount of blue paint on the westbound side. Passing traffic spread the colours along the road, leaving a massive Ukrainian flag outside the embassy in London.
Led By Donkeys started as an anti-Brexit group in 2018 but has since taken on other issues. Explaining the protest in a tweet, the group said: “The existence of a massive Ukrainian flag outside his embassy in London will serve to remind him of that.”
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that officers had responded to reports of paint being thrown on the road at around 08:45 GMT. The four individuals were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and obstructing the highway, and they all remain in custody.
The protest has been seen as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine, which is facing increased tensions with Russia. The conflict in eastern Ukraine has continued for several years, with reports of escalating violence in recent weeks.
The Russian Embassy in London condemned the incident as a “provocation” and accused the protesters of vandalizing public property. The embassy issued a statement saying that the act was orchestrated, and this was not the first time such a provocation has taken place against the embassy.
As tensions continue between Ukraine and Russia, it is likely that we will see more protests and demonstrations in support of Ukraine, and more incidents that raise tensions between Russia and the West. The protest by Led By Donkeys is just one example of the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine and how these tensions are playing out on a global scale.