Today's demonstration, with multiple photographs uploaded onto social media along with a post that stressed “the whole world needs to recognise Moscow as a terrorist group; for all nations to understand that without a world court for criminals, it is impossible to construct world peace”.

Ukrainians demonstrate in Lisbon against slaughter of PoWs

Appeal for recognition of Russia as terrorist State

Ukrainian citizens in Lisbon have been demonstrating outside the Russian embassy in Lisbon today over the horrific slaughter of prisoners of war – a number of them prisoners who surrendered in Mariupol in May after holding out for months in Azovstal.

The thrust of the crowd’s presence and appeals is for Russia to be officially recognised as a terrorist State.

As if the clear sabotage of a PoW facility at Olenivka, in Donetsk, was not enough, this week has also seen the appalling video purporting to show a Russian soldier castrating a Ukrainian prisoner. It is unclear what happened to the castrated soldier afterwards. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission said that in another video, the Ukrainian soldier appeared to have been shot in the head and dragged into a ditch..

“All the world needs to understand: Russia is a country of cannibals who enjoy torture and murder”, Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to to the head of the Ukrainian President’s office tweeted shortly after the attack.

Today, countrymen and women far from the hideousness of war in their own country have made their feelings felt outside the small patch of territory in Portugal representing Russia. 

Among slogans held high were “Sou Azov” (I am Azov, the battalion whose members were killed on Friday); “Assassino, deixa a Ucrânia em Paz” (Murderer, leave Ukraine in peace); “Russia is a terrorist state”; “Your country could suffer next #terror Rússia); “Stop Russia Aggression” and “Putin#HUILO#” – a reference to a  Ukrainian song ridiculing Mr Putin.

Present today with protestors was Ukrainian ambassador Inna Ohnivets, ostensibly relieved of her duties some weeks ago, but still in place and working for Ukrainians in Portugal.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Portugal Inna Ohnivets addressing protestors today

As SIC television news explains, the Friday attack killed 50 prisoners, and severely injured 73 more.

According to information circulating the internet, it appears to have been the work of a thermobaric explosion from inside the barracks.

Ukrainian sources describe how prisoners were only recently moved to the building which went on to be completely destroyed.

Russian sources sought to suggest the horror was the work of Ukraine – using American HIMARS rockets – but the missile fragments featured as evidence belie this version: if a HIMARS had hit the building, there would have been a great deal more debris around it, say experts. As aerial footage has shown, there wasn’t.

Ukraine has called on the UN and the International Red Cross to send a mission to Donetsk to investigate the attack, while the current commander of the Azov Regiment, Nikita Nadtochiy, has vowed “fair punishment” for what he describes as Russia’s “act of public execution”.

There appears to have been no reaction today from the Russian embassy to the demo outside, although the embassy has shown strong reactions in the recent past to dissent in Portugal.

Singer Pedro Abrunhosa caused upset following a recent performance in which he repeated the phase “go f*** yourself” several times, with reference to President Putin, Russian soldiers, and Russian missiles. 

The embassy released a statement in which it claimed Russian compatriots were “angry”, and “shocked” by Abrunhosa’s words, which it described as “rude and unacceptable for citizens of the Federation of Russia as well as its highest leaders”.

The embassy referred to Russians (upset and shocked) who had “paid tickets” for the event –  but as commentators explained at the time, the concert was free…

The worst of the embassy’s statement was that it said it had already advised “competent organs” of this situation.

Pedro Abrunhosa has responded by continuing to shout expletives against Russia in his performances, with various political leaders saying they totally support his right to freedom of expression.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com