Mural with embrace of Ukrainian and Russian soldier taken down in Melbourne – PHOTOS


International, Russo-Ukrainian war 2022

On 5 September, a mural by artist Peter Seaton depicting an embrace of a Ukrainian and Russian soldier was painted over in Melbourne. The mural was heavily criticized by the Ukrainian community in Australia and Seaton’s colleagues for creating a sense of false equivalency between victim and aggressor.

It was criticized by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnichenko:

Co-Chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations Stefan Romaniw stated that the “unfair and misguided” mural deeply offends Ukrainians by drawing a false moral equivalence between the aggressor and the victim, and promote Russian disinformation.

“This is not a conflict with two equal combatants. This a valiant attempt by a beleaguered nation to defend itself from unwarranted and illegal aggression and violence,” said Stefan Romaniw.

“To imply that Ukraine should hug its oppressor is a profound insult which detracts from the bigger issue – the brutality of the Russian army, its treatment of civilian populations, its war crimes, and its unwillingness to negotiate unless Ukraine gives up its independence and territorial sovereignty,” he said.

“What would people think if a mural featured a rapist and a victim hugging? Wouldn’t that offend any decent person’s conviction that to ask a victim to excuse their rapist while the crime is still occuring, not been acknowledged, and not been atoned for, is wrong?” he said.

“Ukrainians would dearly love peace. They want to go back to their homes, their jobs and their lives. But until Russia stops its brutal war in Ukraine and withdraws from areas it has occupied, including the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, how can true peace be obtained?” said Mr Romaniw.

“Trying to be ‘even-handed’ and accepting a false narrative that ‘all we need is peace’ in this case supports evil. It endorses Russia’s actions and enforces on Ukraine an obligation to accept attempts to destroy it,” he added.

Chinese political caricaturist Badiucao offered his version of the mural – where the Russian soldier sticks a knife into the Ukrainian soldier’s back:

Another take on the mural referred to a Nazi soldier and a Jewish person:

The author Peter Seaton recorded a video with apologies to Ukrainians following the wave of criticism, stating that his goal was to help achieve peace.

Finally, on 5 September, the mural was painted over:

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