Russian Embassy Targeted With Red Paint After Pro-Ukraine And Pro-Putin Protesters Face Off

The Russian embassy in the Austrian capital Vienna was targeted with red paint at the weekend shortly after vocal exchanges between a majority of pro-Ukraine protesters and two protesters who appeared to agree with the Kremlin’s point of view.

The incident was partially caught on camera by Newsflash journalist Joe Golder, as these exclusive images show. During an interview being conducted around the corner from the embassy, a man on a bicycle whizzed by and threw paint at the plaque.

In the footage, a loud noise can be heard before footsteps belonging to Austrian soldiers ring out as they run after a man on a bicycle who they said had just thrown red paint at the Russian embassy’s plaque at approximately 2:10 PM, at the embassy premises on Reisnerstrasse 45-47, in the third district, in central Vienna.

The Russian Embassy’s plaque now cleaned. (Joe Golder/Newsflash)

One of the Austrian soldiers on duty confirmed to Newsflash seconds after the incident that a “man rode by on a bike” and “threw paint at the embassy plaque” before “riding off”. The soldier said that it had happened very quickly.

In the footage, a police car can be seen scrambling into action and chasing after the man on the bike. It is currently unclear if he was caught. Newsflash contacted the Austrian police press service and they provided a written statement saying: “It was a cyclist. He is said to have driven past the embassy and threw a paint bag at the sign in front of the embassy entrance. The alleged perpetrator then fled. A search was unsuccessful. The damage caused cannot yet be measured. The police have requested the video material and it will subsequently be evaluated. Investigations are currently underway.”

The incident, as relayed by the Austrian soldier, was also confirmed by the protesters present in front of the embassy at the time. It took place shortly after another incident during which a woman began ripping posters off the wall opposite the embassy because she disagreed with them, arguing that they were “Western propaganda”.

The Russian Embassy’s plaque now cleaned. (Joe Golder/Newsflash)

She was confronted by the pro-Ukraine protesters and as the exchanges became more vocal, the soldiers called the police, who subsequently defused the situation. Moments later, the man on a bicycle rode by at speed and splashed the paint on the embassy plaque.

Subsequent Newsflash images show unidentified people cleaning the red paint off the plaque. Up close images show that the paint splattered across the plaque and having trickled down onto the wall in front of the entrance to the embassy.

The people cleaning it can be seen scrubbing the plaque and the gate in a bid to remove the paint, at 3:20 PM, just over an hour after the incident.

The Russian Embassy’s plaque now cleaned. (Joe Golder/Newsflash)

Austria is not a NATO member but is a NATO partner. It is technically neutral but has condemned “violations of international law” by the Vladimir Putin’s regime, despite the Russian embassy’s vocal protests on Twitter.

The Russian Foreign Ministry in Vienna tweeted on Saturday, 5th March that it strenuously condemned “anti-Russian rhetoric” by Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on social media that Austrian leaders had breached their official policy of neutrality by condemning Russian actions in Ukraine.

The Russian Embassy’s plaque now cleaned. (Joe Golder/Newsflash)

The Austrian Foreign Ministry responded, also on Twitter, saying that while Austria remains militarily neutral, it would not remain a neutral party when it came to violations of international law.

The Russian Embassy also expressed outrage and described the act as “barbaric” and “vandalism”.

Pro-Ukraine protesters at the scene called for an end to the conflict and unanimously condemned Putin’s actions.