Public displays of the letter "Z" have been outlawed in two German states, after authorities in Bavaria and Lower Saxony announced over the weekend that anyone who displays the letter - which has become synonymous with support for Russia's war in Ukraine - will be subject to a fine or three years in jail, according to The Local.
"The Russian war of aggression on the Ukraine is a criminal act, and whoever publicly approves of this war of aggression can also make himself liable to prosecution," said an Interior Ministry spokesperson in a Monday press statement.
The letter became a hot-button issue after tanks amassed at the Ukrainian border displayed it - possibly to distinguish them from Ukraine's tanks.
Chapter 140 of Germany's criminal code recognizes "incitement to crime of aggression" as an offense, according to Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform. The Local reports that there have been displays of "Z" in both Lower Saxony and Bavaria. -NPR
Russia’s war of aggression against #Ukraine is a criminal offense. Anyone publicly approving the war may be liable to prosecution in Germany. This applies to using the "Z" symbol, too. German security authorities are keeping an eye on the use of the symbol. - Ministry of Interior https://t.co/diQEgGwR7a— German Embassy (@GermanyinUSA) March 28, 2022
Meanwhile, Ukraine is asking the entire world to criminalize the usage of "Z" - with Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeting on Tuesday: "I call on all states to criminalize the use of the 'Z' symbol as a way to publicly support Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine."
"'Z' means Russian war crimes, bombed out cities, thousands of murdered Ukrainians. Public support of this barbarism must be forbidden."
I call on all states to criminalize the use of the ‘Z’ symbol as a way to publicly support Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. ’Z’ means Russian war crimes, bombed out cities, thousands of murdered Ukrainians. Public support of this barbarism must be forbidden.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 29, 2022
The actual meaning of the letter has never been confirmed, however Russia's Defense Ministry said in a series of tweets earlier this month that the "Z" stands for "Victory," "for the truth," "for peace," as well as "denazification" and demilitarization."
Summing up the situation is Paul Joseph Watson: