A man at the Belgrade march carried a large letter ‘Z’, the mark of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – Copyright AFP Wojtek RADWANSKI
Some two hundred people marched Monday in the Serbian capital in an event organised by the Russian embassy in Belgrade to mark the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
Serbia, which aspires to join the European Union, is a traditional ally of Russia and refuses to impose sanctions on Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.
People taking part in the so-called “Immortal Regiment” march walked in silence through downtown Belgrade, cheering from time to time, and carried pictures of their loved ones killed during the war.
A man who walked at the head of the column carried a large letter “Z”, the mark of Russia’s invasion.
Another one carried a life-size cardboard cutout of Russian President Vladimir Putin, while some waved Russian and Soviet Union flags.
Many Serbs hold a favourable view of the Kremlin while Putin sees Serbia as a foothold in Europe. There have previously been pro-Russia rallies in Serbia after Moscow’s forces entered Ukraine in February.
Monday’s march ended at the liberators’ cemetery where representatives of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Serbia laid wreaths.
Their Ukrainian peers did the same Sunday.
“People have to remember, it’s easy to forget what was going on (in World War II)… and that’s why we have such a situation” in Ukraine, Marija Devric, 31, told AFP.
The finance expert took part in the march to honour her great-grandfather who “went from Moscow to Berlin” during the war.