The mayor of Vienne, a city in southeastern France, has made the decision to remove the Ukrainian flag from the city hall following a phone call between Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Thierry Kovacs, the mayor, deemed the call “unacceptable” and accused Zelensky of supporting the “dictatorial” regime in Azerbaijan.
The flag was originally hung to show solidarity with Ukraine during its armed conflict with Russia. However, Kovacs argued that it is contradictory to claim to uphold Western values and call for the West to intervene, while also supporting Azerbaijan’s actions in Nagorno-Karabakh, which he referred to as “ethnic cleansing” of Armenians.
In a Facebook post, Kovacs wrote, “This doesn’t diminish Vienne’s support for the Ukrainian people, but we cannot fight against a totalitarian regime in the name of European values, while at the same time endorsing another dictatorial and barbaric regime. It’s a matter of consistency.”
Zelensky stated that during the phone call, he expressed gratitude to Aliyev for his country’s significant humanitarian assistance. Both leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
Last month, Azerbaijan regained control over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that had declared independence from Baku in the early 1990s but was not recognized by any country. The operation to reestablish control was termed a “counterterrorism” operation. However, following a ceasefire in late September, more than 100,000 Armenians, comprising around 90% of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population, fled the enclave.
Kovacs’ decision to remove the Ukrainian flag from the city hall reflects his concerns about the Ukrainian government’s support for Azerbaijan’s actions in Nagorno-Karabakh. He believes that it is inconsistent to fight against one totalitarian regime while endorsing another.
By taking this action, Kovacs hopes to send a message about the importance of adhering to consistent values and standing against regimes that engage in actions deemed dictatorial and barbaric.
The removal of the flag does not diminish Vienne’s support for the Ukrainian people, but rather highlights the need for alignment between actions and values. This decision also prompts a larger conversation about the complexities of international conflicts and the importance of carefully considering allegiances and partnerships.
In conclusion, Mayor Thierry Kovacs has removed the Ukrainian flag from Vienne’s city hall due to concerns about Ukraine’s support for Azerbaijan’s actions in Nagorno-Karabakh. This decision emphasizes the need for consistency in upholding values and standing against dictatorial regimes. It also raises questions about the complexities of international conflicts and the role of partnerships and allegiances.