Mar 28, 2022 - World

Germany could prosecute those who display pro-Russian "Z" symbol

Tourist shop with merch with the letter Z

Shop selling T-shirts with the 'Z' pro-war symbol on March 25 in Moscow. Photo: Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images

German authorities may designate displaying the letter "Z" in support of Russia's war in Ukraine as a criminal offense liable for prosecution, an Interior Ministry spokesperson told reporters Monday, Reuters reported.

Why it matters: The symbol Z, indicating support for Russia's unprovoked invasion, has become ubiquitous within Russia and has been seen painted on Russian tanks in Ukraine, the Washington Post reported.

What they're saying: "The letter Z as such is of course not forbidden, but its use may in individual cases constitute an endorsement of the Russian war of aggression," the spokesperson said, per Reuters.

  • "The Russian war of aggression on the Ukraine is a criminal act, and whoever publicly approves of this war of aggression can also make himself liable to prosecution," he added at the press briefing, Reuters reported.
  • "The federal security authorities have an eye on this, and in this respect we welcome the announcement that several federal states will also examine in individual cases whether this could be a criminal act and to take action accordingly," he said.

The big picture: Several German states, including Bavaria and Lower Saxony, have previously said they intend to prosecute cases involving individuals displaying the Z symbol, per Reuters.

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