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It has been more than a month since the Russian President launched an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, and thousands of military personnel and civilians have since lost their lives.
The invasion has been condemned by leaders the world over and has sparked international protests, with the colours of the Ukrainian flag used as a symbol of solidarity; and the Russian flag itself has also been reimagined in the wake of the war.
The new flag is the same as the original, except the red band at the bottom has been replaced with a second white band.
The white-blue-white flag has been cropping up at demonstrations as a means of enabling Russians to highlight the fact that the nation as a whole does not support the war.
Berlin-based Russian UX designer, Kai Katonina, was one of numerous people to propose the new flag as a symbol for people to rally behind.
Сегодня в Тбилиси уже вышли ребята с этим флагом! https://t.co/lb5KIsaD8t pic.twitter.com/pAoobYzdv7
- крошка цейтнот :blue_heart: (@Inga_Kudracheva) March 2, 2022
Explaining the motivation, the 31-year-old told Latvia-based Russian news site Meduza: "I realised this when people I knew started writing on their signs that they're Russian and they oppose the war.
"Journalists started eagerly going up to them and saying, 'Wow, you're Russian! You oppose the war and you've come out to protest!'
"They were surprised, even though Berlin's entire Russian-speaking population was in that crowd - including Belarusians and a lot of Russians.
"It was clear we needed to mark ourselves as Russians against the war and not just some more people. There was a wide consensus that we need some kind of symbol."
The new design takes away the red stripe, to figuratively remove the blood from the Russian flag.
Russians against Putin are using a "new Russian flag", pushing to remove the "blood" from the Russian flag. This is what a real threat to Putin looks like. pic.twitter.com/De8I75SxJV
- Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) March 27, 2022
At a protest in New York earlier this month, a Russian brandishing the new flag explained why he was rallying behind it.
According to The Guardian, Alex Zaporozhtsev - an activist with the group For Freedom in Russia - said: "We decided we can no longer use the Russian tricolour, because Putin has turned it into a fascist symbol.
"We decided to take away the red stripe - it's the colour of blood - and make it white."
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
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