Local politicians reacted with fury over the weekend after a popular tourist spot was marred by pro-Russian graffiti. The post, which glorified Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, was described as a “despicable” act of vandalism.
Pro-Russian graffiti spoils a tourist site
The Dark Hedges in County Atrim, Northern Ireland – a popular walking spot that featured on HBO shows The iron Throne – was subjected to the offensive doodle. The spray painted taunt reads: “Z Glory to Russia”.
The Z symbol was used as a show of support for the invasion of Ukraine and hammers home the partisan views of these vandals. However, the regional community did not appreciate this unsolicited show of support for Putin’s aggression.
What is particularly infuriating for County Antrim and its residents is that they have recently taken in an influx of Ukrainian refugees. For them, being confronted with this graffiti is, according to Mervyn Storey of the DUP, “completely at odds” with Northern Irish values.
“An insult to our community”
Storey has since issued a statement on the matter, promising to take down the pro-Russian message immediately, and he reiterated that his constituency will continue to support and relocate Ukrainian refugees.
“This is a wanton act of vandalism to one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic places. It is completely at odds with the warm welcome our local community offers to tourists from all over the world who come see what the Dark Hedges and the North Shore have to offer.
“This week I was happy to be able to welcome refugees from Ukraine into my own church community. It is despicable that they have to face this kind of behavior glorifying Russia’s oppressive terror campaign in their homeland.
“It is wrong and it is unacceptable. I will work closely with local authorities and the PSNI to ensure that this graffiti is immediately removed and those responsible are held accountable.”