Enno Lenze and Wieland Giebel, who operate the Berlin Story Museum, said they had stationed the tank wreck by Russia’s imposing embassy off the Brandenburg Gate ‘as a symbol of Russia’s downfall’.
“We want to put their scrap metal in front of the gates of the terrorists,” said Giebel, who for months was caught in a bureaucratic tangle with Berlin authorities over the tank installation, after Lenze had the idea to bring it to Berlin after finding it at the side of the road near Kyiv.
The tank was damaged on March 31st last year near Bucha, the town near Kyiv which has become a byword for alleged Russian war crimes.
Sabine Ertl, a tourist on holiday in Berlin, said the tank was both “impressive and scary”.
“It brings this reality much closer,” she told AFP.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Oleksii Makeiev was also on hand at the tank protest to thank Lenze and Giebel.
“Don’t panic,” he tweeted. “The Russian T-72 tank previously sighted in Berlin has already been destroyed by Ukrainian forces so this death machine could no longer pose a threat to the people of Europe.”
Keine Panik! Der davor in Berlin gesichtete russische Panzer T-72 ist von ukrainischen Streitkräften bereits zerstört, damit diese Todesmaschine keine Gefahr mehr für die Menschen in Europa darstellen könnte. /1 https://t.co/5YyKeQ1lap
— Oleksii Makeiev 🇺🇦 (@Makeiev) February 24, 2023
Admiring the protest action, one Twitter user quipped that the tank had been “returned to sender” after a failed delivery to Ukraine. “This Russian tank was refused acceptance in Ukraine and returned to the Russian Embassy in Berlin,” he wrote.
Return to sender. Die Annahme dieses russischen Panzers wurde in der Ukraine verweigert und an die russische Botschaft in Berlin zurückgesandt.
— Manuel Schwalm (@coolservativ) February 24, 2023
The demonstration not only drew the attention of passers by – a group of Ukrainian children also came to sing next to the destroyed military vehicle.
Ukrainian kids singing pic.twitter.com/oj7UFnp8NK
— Enno Lenze (@ennolenze) February 24, 2023
Zelensky to speak to Ukraine’s supporters in Germany
At an event led by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier who underlined that Kyiv could count on Berlin, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky beamed in a message thanking Western allies for their support for his country.
Zelensky was also due to address demonstrators in Berlin later Friday via video-link. Massive pro-Ukraine demonstrations are scheduled to happen all over Germany late Friday afternoon.