KYIV, Ukraine –
Ukrainians are marking their patriotism with new tattoos as more evidence emerges of how Russian forces have targeted male civilians.
“Men were detained, beaten, summarily executed and, in some cases, taken to Belarus and Russia,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a May 5 statement to the UN Security Council. “As of 4 May, my office had documented 180 such cases, of which five victims were eventually found dead.”
But in Kyiv, tattoo artist Ruslan Tsvetnov says attacks on civilians haven’t deterred a surge of clients looking to get patriotic symbols like the Ukrainian trident.
“I warn them of the risks of getting one,” he told CTV National News’ National Affairs Correspondent Omar Sachedina. “It’s a visible target for the enemy.”
That doesn’t faze Viktor, who was getting a tattoo at Tsvetnov’s studio.
“Ukraine is part of me and I am part of it,” he told CTV National News.
Ana Sybirska has a new tattoo with a clear message: “Russian warship go f*** yourself.” Those words commemorate a Ukrainian’s soldier’s reply when asked to surrender to a ship believed to be the now-sunken Moskva.
People are now starting to return to the capital, where Sybirska has stayed through the war. She says she travels to the frontlines with friends to deliver medical supplies and equipment and will do so for as long as it takes.
“No one knows what’s going to happen,” she told CTV News, referring to Russia’s president. “Who knows what this crazy man [Putin] will do?”