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Ukraine Anger as statue of Spanish civil war hero vandalised

THE International Brigades Memorial Trust (IBMT) has condemned the desecration at the weekend of a monument to a Ukrainian who died in the Spanish Civil War.

Trust secretary Jim Jump spoke out after the statue of Yuriy Velikanovich in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv was toppled on Saturday night and scrawled with the graffiti “commies out.”

Mr Jump told the Morning Star that the IBMT “deplores such acts of vandalism” which were “sadly part of a trend in eastern Europe and elsewhere to denigrate those who fought fascism in the 1930s and ’40s.”

Mr Velikanovich was killed at the Battle of the Ebro, the largest and bloodiest of the three-year war, on September 4 1938 while fighting with the Taras Shevchenko volunteer company, named after the Ukrainian national poet.

He was a teacher by profession and served as a war reporter in Spain before joining combat.

His monument, designed by Theodosia Bryzh, was erected in the city’s Iron Water Park in 1982. Vandals cut the head off the statue in 2015, a year after the far-right Euromaidan coup, but it had been repaired.

A street in the city was also named after him but was renamed in 1991 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

“Many of those who took up arms against fascism in Spain and who went on to fight nazism as partisans and resistance fighters were communists,” Mr Jump said.

“Their proud record and example is being besmirched by neofascist and far-right groups emboldened by those governments and official bodies which promote the dangerous notion that fascism and communism can somehow be equated.”

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