MOSCOW, May 24 (UPI) -- Russia has condemned the defacing of a statue in Tallinn, the Estonian capital, which honors Soviet soldiers killed during World War II.
A statement on the Foreign Ministry's Web site read: "Moscow is indignant over the desecration of the Soviet Soldier Monument in downtown Tallinn. Russia expects that ... the Estonian authorities ... will take active measures to detain and punish those responsible, as well as promptly restore the monument," Interfax reported Tuesday.
Saturday night three men were caught painting the bronze Soviet-era statue blue and white, two of the colors of the Estonian flag. Monday three men also were seen painting the statue's face, The Baltic Times reported.
On Saturday hundreds of protesters demanded the removal of the statue from Tallinn's downtown, and fights broke out between the protesters and ethnic Russians, The Baltic Times reported.
Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said Monday on Estonian radio that the statue "was a symbol of occupation and should be moved elsewhere," as other Soviet monuments had been following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, RIA Novosti reported.