A stamp depicting a Ukrainian soldier making an obscene hand gesture at the Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva has become a collector’s item for Ukrainians who see it as a sign of victory.
At the central post office in the capital, Kyiv, hundreds of Ukrainians of every age queued for hours on Friday to get their hands on one of the 1 million copies printed so far.
” That ship was the biggest one they had. … They gambled a lot on it, and we destroyed it!” said Yury Kolesan, 22, who waited for 2 1/2 hours to get a set of 30 stamps. “It’s a new phase of the war, one of victory!”
The warship sank on Thursday after an explosion and fire that Ukraine claimed was caused by a missile strike, a claim backed by one U.S. defense official on Friday. Russia said the damage was caused by an explosion of munitions on board.
The missile cruiser gained publicity in the early stages of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine when its crew called on a unit of Ukrainian border guards to surrender, only for them to defiantly refuse.
The incident quickly became a symbol of Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s assault.
Ukraine’s postal service last month launched a competition to illustrate the episode.
Out of more than 500 submissions, Lviv designer Boris Groh’s winning entry shows a Ukrainian soldier from behind making the obscene gesture at the warship.
It has proved a hit, selling out in many post offices and quickly appearing for resale online.
“We wanted to print more but the bombing last night in Kyiv affected the work of the factory and we did not manage to print the necessary quantity,” Ukrainian postal service chief Igor Smelyansky told AFP.