20 August 2014

SIDEBAR Climbers hoist Ukrainian flag on Moscow landmark skyscraper

Moscow (dpa) Unknown protesters on Wednesday climbed a landmark Stalin-era skyscraper in Moscow, hoisted a small Ukrainian flag and painted blue over a golden Soviet star to make it appear in the Ukrainian national colours.

The early morning operation at the 176-metre Kotelnicheskaya Embankment building was widely reported on television and caused a stir in the Russian capital, where public opinion has turned strongly against Ukraine over the conflict in the country's east.

Workers pulled down the flag after three hours, and started restoring the star's original colour, Russian news agencies reported.

Four suspects with climbing gear were taken to a police station for questioning.

The two men and two women denied hoisting the flag or painting the star, the Itar-Tass news agency reported, citing a police source. They could be accused of vandalism, the report said. Under Russian law, vandalism carries up to three years in prison.

The Kotelnicheskaya Embankment building is part of a series of Moscow high-rise buildings widely seen as prime examples of Stalinist architecture. They are sometimes referred to as the "Seven Sisters".