Anyone in Germany who uses the letter “Z” as an expression of support for Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine is liable to prosecution. Russian troops in Ukraine militarily mark their tanks with a Z symbol. The symbol is also used by Putin supporters and demonstrators at various rallies in Russia. Now, here in Germany, these groups keep popping up. In several federal states, offenders could soon be jailed for this.
With the Z on his chest, Putin’s troops are attacking Ukraine. According to the Kremlin, the symbol stands for victory. However, in Germany, the symbol appears more and more often as graffiti. Here on the facade of cherry in Würzburg. The parishioners are horrified. Among them are also many German Russians. The people who do this are bringing the war to Germany. We all want to live here in peace,” say the parishioners.
The symbol destroys peace. Several German states agree on that. Among others, Berlin, Bavaria, Saxony, and Lower Saxony now want to take criminal action against the use of the symbol. The Federal Ministry of the Interior welcomes that and clarifies that, naturally is not the letter forbidden. However, its use in individual cases may constitute an endorsement of the Russian war of aggression because a Russian war of aggression on Ukraine is a criminal offence. The basis for this is Section 140 of the Criminal Code. Offenders can go to prison for up to three years. In Wolfsburg, the police are investigating while the community is also acting against the propaganda, setting a sign for peace with prayers.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Interior Ministry spokesman Marek Wede said “Russia’s war of aggression” is a crime, and those who support this war are also liable to prosecution. “The letter Z as such is of course not forbidden. In individual cases, however, its use can represent approval of the Russian war of aggression and is therefore prohibited under section 140 of the criminal code,” he said.
The Russia-Ukraine war, which started on Feb. 24, has met international outrage with the EU, US, and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow. At least 1,151 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 1,842 injured, according to estimates by the UN, which cautioned that the true figure is likely far higher. More than 3.87 million Ukrainians have also fled to several European countries, with millions more displaced inside the country, according to the UN refugee agency.