Toy replicas of Russian military vehicles emblazoned with the now infamous ‘Z’ logo synonymous with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine have gone on sale in Russia.
The online EONK store, headquartered in Moscow, is selling a range of the small plastic toys which includes military trucks, multiple rocket launcher systems, fuel tankers, missile launchers and personnel carriers.
Prices range from 602 – 817 roubles, equivalent to roughly £6.12 – £9.25.
Their sale comes as part of a nationwide campaign to drum up support for Russia’s war effort among young people, which has seen ailing children dragged out of hospital to stand in the shape of a Z and young gymnasts sporting the symbol on their singlets.
First seen on tanks and armoured vehicles on the battlefield, the letter Z has since been adopted for propaganda purposes by Putin’s regime and is now seemingly ubiquitous in Russian media as well as on the front lines.
Toy replicas of Russian military vehicles emblazoned with the now infamous ‘Z’ logo synonymous with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine have gone on sale in Russia
The online EONK store, headquartered in Moscow, is selling a range of the small plastic toys which includes military trucks, multiple rocket launcher systems, fuel tankers, missile launchers and personnel carriers
Prices range from 602 roubles up to 817 roubles for a multiple rocket launcher system toy (equivalent to roughly £6.12 – £9.25)
A Russian army truck carrying an armoured vehicle approaches the Perekop checkpoint on the Ukrainian border on the first day of the invasion, Feb 24
Service members of pro-Russian troops in uniforms without insignia are seen atop of a tank with the letter ‘Z’ painted on its sides in the separatist-controlled settlement of Buhas (Bugas), as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 1, 2022
Pro-Putin celebrities have taken to wearing Z badges, and youth activists have released videos of themselves in Z‑branded T-shirts, screaming: ‘For Russia! For Putin!’
The Kremlin has claimed the letter Z stands for the phrase ‘za pobedu’ (for victory), while the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine says it denotes units from Russia’s Eastern Military District, and — if encased in a square — forces from Crimea.
But Russia’s use of the Z symbol is confusing, given the character itself does not exist in the Russian language’s Cyrillic alphabet.
The sound of the letter Z is denoted with the Cyrillic character ‘з’, leading commentators to question why the latin Z was adopted by Russia’s armed forces and Putin’s propaganda campaign in the first place.
Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak, 20, (pictured) is facing disciplinary action for taping a Z to his kit during a medal ceremony at a World Cup event in Qatar
First seen on tanks and armoured vehicles on the battlefield, the letter Z has since been adopted for propaganda purposes by Vladimir Putin’s supporters back home
The symbol was also cynically used by a cancer charity that runs a hospice for sick children in the Russian city of Kazan (pictured)
Some pro-Ukrainian commentators have compared Russia’s use of the Z sign to the Nazis use of the swastika during World War II.
Meanwhile, Israel today denounced comments by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and demanded an apology after he suggested that Adolf Hitler had Jewish roots.
Lavrov made the remark when challenged by an Italian TV station over his claim that Russia is ‘de-Nazifying’ Ukraine, pointing out that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish.
‘I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means nothing,’ Lavrov said. ‘For a long time now we’ve been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves.’
Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, today branded the remark ‘scandalous’ and said the Russian ambassador would be summoned for a ‘tough talk’.
Zelensky himself said: ‘I have no words… No one has heard any denial or any justification from Moscow. All we have from there is silence… This means that the Russian leadership has forgotten all the lessons of World War Two.
‘Or perhaps they have never learned those lessons.’
Lavrov made the remark after being challenged over Russia’s claims that Ukraine is being run by Nazis, despite Zelensky (pictured) being Jewish
Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, said the Russian minister’s remarks were ‘an insult and a severe blow to the victims of the real Nazism’.
Speaking on Kan radio, Dayan said Lavrov was spreading ‘an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory with no basis in fact’.
In 2018, a study conducted by Belgian journalist Jean-Paul Mulders and Hitler expert historian Marc Vermeeren collected saliva samples from more than three dozen of the Nazi dictator’s living relatives.
The relatives’ DNA was subjected to tests to determine their main haplogroups – parts of chromosomes which geneticists can use to distinguish between different ancestries.
The study, which was reported by History.com, found that Hitler’s relatives appeared to share a dominant haplogroup which is common among North Africans and two different groups of Jews.