Silence From Institutions for the Board With the Ukrainian City of Sevastopol in the “Russian” Playground Near Universal Hall
For more than a month, the Municipality of Centar, the City of Skopje and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been silent on the questions asked by Meta.mk about the new Russian playground behind the Universal Hall, where the sign with the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol was first placed and then removed.
At the end of December last year, the Ukrainian Embassy in Skopje confirmed to Meta.mk that they had reacted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the City of Skopje, after which the sign with the inscription Sevastopol was removed from the children’s playground.
The Ambassador of Ukraine to the country, Ms. Natalia Zadorozhnyuk, held a series of relevant meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she expressed the view on the inadmissible participation of officials from North Macedonia, especially the leadership of the Municipality of Centar, in the Russian side’s attempt to legalize the status of temporarily occupied territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as a special entity of the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian Embassy told Meta.mk on December 24 last year.
At a meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergei Baznikin on January 31, Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani said that the country supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for a de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine, adding that a solution to the Ukrainian crisis should be sought through dialogue and diplomacy.
A few days later, Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski said after a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on February 3 that North Macedonia fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
The children’s playground with Russian themes was completed by the Municipality of Centar, in cooperation with the Russian Embassy in Skopje, during the pre-election period in October last year. On two occasions before the local elections, the former mayor of the municipality of Centar, Saša Bogdanovikj, announced that the construction of the Russian playground was being completed, and on October 15, he visited the playground together with the Russian ambassador, Sergei Baznikin. Bogdanovikj himself announced that the playground is a joint investment of the Municipality of Centar and the Russian Embassy.
We have twice sent questions to the Municipality of Centar about basic data for this playground – how much money is allocated for the construction, who removed the board with the city of Sevastopol from the Russian playground, but most importantly – whether the decision to build the playground was approved by the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Center, whose design it is, in which, in addition to boards with Russian cities, children play on a background of a map of the Russian Federation.
Additionally, the children’s playground with Russian themes was built in the so-called “Park of Remembrance” behind the Universal Hall, where the Municipality of Centar and the Russian Embassy planted trees in November 2020 and made it a “reminder to the younger generations of the victims of World War II.”
Just 100 meters from the Russian playground behind the Universal Hall, the Municipality of Centar with the support of the Russian Embassy in Skopje on 9 May 2020 erected a monument in honor of Victory Day and the millions of soldiers who lost their lives in World War II.