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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ryan Merrifield

Russia 'co-ordinating support for Ukraine war across Europe' with demos on same day

Russia could be co-ordinating demonstrations across Europe in favour of its invasion in Ukraine, it has been claimed.

Major cities such as Berlin, Dublin, Hanover, Frankfurt and Athens have all seen mass street gatherings in recent weeks with participants waving the Russian tricolours.

Vehicles have also been seen with the pro-war Z markings, a symbol emblazoned on many of the invading troops' tanks and armoured cars.

And those involved have been spouting the same propaganda in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Due to the marches often taking place around the same time, despite being hundreds of miles apart, critics suggest this is a tell-tale sign they have been organised in bulk by Moscow.

Several hundred people took part in a pro-Russian car parade through Berlin (snapshot-photography/F Boillot/REX/Shutterstock)

Experts say Kremlin federal agency Rossotrudnichestvo may have instructed Russian expatriates living in neighbouring nations to conduct such demos in an effort to manufacture support for the war.

Yesterday, Serbia saw hundreds of people join a right-wing march holding pictures of Putin and wearing t-shirts marked with the letter Z.

It was the latest in a series of such shows of support for the cause, with many Serbians loyal to Russia, with anti-western sentiments stemming back to 1999 when NATO forced Belgrade to give up Kosovo.

People wear T-shirts with letter Z during a protest against the Serbian authorities (REUTERS)

Russia has backed its efforts to retain the province, which declared independence in 2008.

The protest was primarily against the Serbian authorities for voting to suspend Russia's membership in the UN Human Rights Council.

A similar demonstration involving up to 900 people in a convoy of 400, meanwhile, moved through the German capital on April 3.

A woman was arrested for displaying the Z on her clothes, which has become a criminal offence in parts of the country.

The rally was organised by Serbian ultra nationalists organisations in Belgrade (AFP via Getty Images)

On the same day, Athens held its own rally, and last Sunday a series of pro-Russia demos were held in other parts of Europe.

Many of the number plates of cars involved in Dublin on April 10 had number plates registered to Russian expats, according to The Times.

Ben Noble, an associate professor of Russian politics at University College London, told the newspaper Moscow is worried about a lack of genuine support for its invasion.

He said: "Controlling those optics is something Russian authorities regard as an important thing to do."

Multiple protests have been staged across Europe (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Fellow expert, Mark Galeotti, an analyst and Russia specialist, said: "[Rossotrudnichestvo] is precisely there to reach out to these expat and ethnic Russian communities, and clearly it is often used as a way of creating shows of support for Kremlin policy."

While Sam Ramani, an international relations expert at Oxford University, said it would be fairly simple to drum up support in nations with large Russian expatriate communities.

He added it is "very possible" the Kremlin has "local stooges" to organise such anti-western groups.

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