Vladimir Putin today laid flowers on the grave of “The Unknown Soldier” at the Kremlin wall in Moscow. He honors the memorial as part of the symbolic celebration of the Soviet Union’s victory over Germany in 1945.
On large marble blocks at the unknown soldier’s grave, the name of a city is engraved: Odessa.
The unknown soldiers
The remains of the unknown soldiers who were killed in the Battle of Moscow in 1941 were taken to the memorial in 1966. The monument in dark red stone is decorated with a bronze sculpture of bay leaves on a soldier’s helmet lying on a flag.
Just to the right of the tomb are dark red stone blocks along a walkway, and in the blocks is encapsulated soil from the hero cities. Odessa is one of them. The city, which was attacked by Russian forces the same evening, will be honored in the ceremony on May 9.
A photo from the celebration shows Putin laying a red flower at a memorial to the city, and it has provoked reactions.
Honors and missiles
Ukrainian officials have not missed Putin’s two divisive actions.
This morning, Putin laid flowers at the monument to the heroic city of Odesa in Moscow to commemorate May 9. In the evening, on his orders, Odesa is hit by his missiles, writes Anton Gerashchenko, who is an adviser to the Interior Minister of Ukraine, on Twitter.
Press officer for the administration in Odesa, Sergei Bratchuk, states that several missiles hit Odesa on Monday night.
The attacks earlier in the day took place while EU President Charles Michel was on an unannounced visit to the city, and while Putin laid his red carnation on the memorial where Odesa’s land is also preserved and honored.
Bratchuk says that five buildings were destroyed in the attack, and that at least two people have been sent to hospital.
Pictures of a shopping center on fire abound on social media, without TV2 being able to confirm this yet.
Three explosions were heard in the center, and one explosion was so strong that it shook the windows and led to car alarms being triggered, writes BBC and CNN.
Kyiv Independent also writes that three missiles must have hit the city.
Several unconfirmed messages on Twitter also say that the city is under heavy attack Monday night and night to Tuesday.
Red carnation means victory
In both Russia and Ukraine, flowers and their symbolic value are part of cultural knowledge. The red carnation means in Russia is called the revolution flower. It means patriotism and love for the fatherland. The origin of this special interpretation of the red carnation comes from the February Revolution in 1917, where the Bolsheviks cut out red carnations in cardboard and this became a symbol of opposition to the temporary Russian government.
Red carnations are also the flower that is handed out on the ninth of May, to show grief and remembrance of the soldiers who fell in the war.