Ukraine: Soldiers link arms as they exercise in the snow
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A penis-headed statue of Vladimir Putin has been unveiled in the village of Bell End to commemorate him as “Bellend of the Year” in protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The effigy appeared on Thursday (December 15) alongside a street sign in the centre of the Worcestershire village.
Villagers and passerby were also invited to throw eggs at the likeness of the Russian president.
The organiser of the protest, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I needed to award somebody with the Bellend of the Year award and I thought there was one person who has universally been a bellend this year – and that’s Vladimir Putin.
“You could just throw eggs at the statue, which people did so willingly and quite happily.
“It’s been very well received. One person said, ‘I thought it was my boss for a second’.”
The co-ordinator said they plan to create and sell miniatures of the statue to raise money for a charity supporting Ukrainian refugees.
They said: “I’ve seen over the course of the year the devastation that has happened in Ukraine and that so many lives that have been displaced as a result of the war.
“So I thought, ‘I really want to help out and I want to do my bit and I want to try and raise some money to help those individuals’.”
The organiser said they want to stay anonymous to keep the “mystique” around the statue, with a further explanation about how it came to be in the village just outside Birmingham to be revealed in the coming days.
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Explaining how the artwork was made, they said: “I don’t know what the material is but I gave to a couple of artists and they cut it out over two or three weeks.
“Then we painted it and made a plinth, which obviously had the sign Bellend of the Year just to make sure there was absolutely no way to deny what he actually was.
“The message is pretty simple – it’s exactly what it says on the tin.”
News of the statue comes after a group of Czech activists auctioned an effigy of Putin appearing naked on a golden toilet.
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They planned to use the proceeds to buy a drone for Ukraine’s armed forces.
The Russian leader was depicted holding a golden toilet brush and mini washing machine with fake blood pouring out in a parody of a monarch holding an orb and sceptre.
Activists set the starting price at £8,600 for the auction, which ends on December 20.
The war in Ukraine is now in its tenth month with both sides locked in a bitter stalemate, which could set the stage for a new round of escalation.
There is a growing sense of desperation among hard-liners in Russia about what they see as Putin’s hesitancy and lack of a clear strategy.
Military analysts say the fighting is likely to intensify again soon as the ground freezes.
Many point to Russian-occupied areas in the south as the most likely place for the next Ukrainian attack.
Russia, which has suffered humiliating military setbacks in recent months, has called up 300,000 reservists to compensate for its heavy battlefield losses.
Putin said last week that half of them were still being trained at firing ranges away from the front lines.
While bolstering its attacking force, the Russian military also has stubbornly pressed its effort to ram through Ukrainian defences in the eastern region of Donetsk in dogged trench warfare.
Kyiv has also fought to keep its opponent off balance with surprise attacks, some of which have been deep inside Russia.
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