PPA receive under 3,000 Ukraine-related public order reports since invasion
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) have had to respond to reports of potentially anti-Ukrainian incidents nearly 3,000 times since the Russian military invaded Ukraine in late February, chief of the PPA's Ida-Harju station Roger Kumm says.
At the same time, Kumm played down the number as comparatively minor when taken in the context of all public order offenses reported over the same period.
Appearing on ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Monday, Kumm recounted one incident from Sunday, when a young man had reportedly damaged a Ukrainian-themed exhibition in Tallinn's Old Town, which had been organized by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory (Eesti Mälu Instituut).
Kumm added that the exact circumstances of what had happened still need to be ascertained, and damage was not necessarily motivated by anti-Ukrainian sentiments.
Kumm said: "A group of five young people moved to towards the [exhibition] stand, and one of the young men in the group jumped up to hang on it, while his his legs struck a panel."
"Unfortunately, I would say, as a result, they damaged one of the walls of the exhibition," Kumm, who had seen video footage of the incident, continued.
Overall, the less than 3,000 public order cases relating to Ukraine were small in comparison with the total number of public order incidents.
He said: "Estonia is safe. These numbers rather characterize it. In general, there are fewer than 3,000 such cases, both related to public order and at the same time to the context of the war in Ukraine, and in total make up one percent of all registered [public order] cases."
"This is actually no different from other contexts, or the situation that is happening at the same time," he went on.
Many of the public order offenses relate to the display of now-banned Russian symbols of aggression, including as graffiti, without any verbal or physical aggression accompanying the incident, Kumm said.
Such cases made up over a third, ie. around 1,000, of the total reports relating to the Ukraine war, he added.
The individual who damaged the exhibition panel could turn themselves in and offer to compensate for the damage as a solution, Kumm said.
Meelis Maripuu, head of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, concurred that it may very well be the case that the individual had no ill-will towards Ukrainians, though in any case the situation must also be looked at in terms of the impression that the act leaves on society.
The damaged panel will be repaired and will be viewable again, he added.
The exhibition had been tampered with once before, in September, Maripuu added, causing it to be closed at that point in time.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael
Source: Ringvaade, Anna Pihl