Radical members of the Ukrainian nationalist organization Right Sector (outlawed in Russia) have been hampering Odessa residents from laying flowers outside Russia’s Consulate General to pay tribute to victims of the Tupolev-154 plane crash, a diplomat at the Consulate General told TASS on Wednesday.
“A group of people from the Right Sector has again tried not to allow Odessa residents, who are still bringing flowers to the Consulate General’s building, to offer their condolences over the tragedy,” he said, adding radical activists openly obstructed people from coming and threatened them. Police remain inactive, the diplomat added.
On Tuesday, the Right Sector extremists desecrated public symbols of condolences outside Russia’s Consulate General in Odessa by throwing flowers and candles brought by locals to pay tribute to the victims of the Tu-154 tragedy into garbage bins. Besides, vandals also tore down posters with public condolences from the fence, replacing them instead with their own containing hate-filled remarks.
The diplomat noted that they felt they would go unpunished, while Ukraine’s police did not react to their actions properly. “Neither Ukraine’s National Police nor National Guard took any serious steps to prevent this act of vandalism,” he said.
A Tu-154 plane from Russia’s Defense Ministry crashed in the early morning hours of December 25 shortly after taking off from the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
There were 92 people on board the aircraft, including eight crew members and 84 passengers that lost their lives in the plane disaster. Among those on the fatal flight was the Executive Director of the Spravedlivaya Pomoshch (Fair Aid) charity fund, Elizaveta Glinka, better known to the Russian public as Dr. Liza, as well as military servicemen and nine reporters from Russia’s Channel One, Zvezda and NTV networks.
The plane was also carrying nearly three dozen members of the world-renowned Alexandrov Ensemble, an official choir of the Russian Armed Forces. The ensemble was on its way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Russia’s Aerospace Forces at the Hmeymim air base in Syria. None of the passengers on the flight survived.