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Police are investigating a report of vandalism that saw swastikas spray-painted on the Ukrainian National Federation Hall in central Edmonton.

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Ivan Lypovyk, president of the Ukrainian National Federation (UNF), said the federation reported the vandalism to police shortly after discovering the symbols on the building and nearby banners Friday morning. The targeted banner in the color of Ukraine’s flag read “Stop Putin” and “Stop War” in reference to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the country’s war against Ukraine.

While the graffiti has since been removed, the federation refuses to recoil from the act.

“We think we’re going to rehang the banner just to show what Ukrainians feel around the world these days,” he said. “We’re going to be even stronger than we were.”

In a Friday news release, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress said it is calling on Edmonton police to investigate the case as a hate crime.

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In a statement Friday night, Edmonton police said they have received the report but cannot provide any additional information at this stage in the investigation.

Yaroslav Broda, Edmonton branch president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), said the vandalism is especially hurtful because many members of the local Ukrainian community and their ancestors are victims of Nazism.

“To get painted with that brush — it’s pretty upsetting,” Broda said. “And it just goes to show how pervasive Russian propaganda is, even in Canada.”

In March, the Russian embassy in Canada issued a statement insisting that Russia is undertaking a “special military operation” to “demilitarize and denazify Ukraine.”

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The vandalism at the hall follows an alleged assault in March outside an Oilers game in which local members of the Ukrainian community were reportedly “punched, kicked, and grabbed by the neck” by a group of men who were speaking and yelling in Russian.

—With files from Postmedia

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