BERLIN, April 15 (UPI) -- Two German newspapers, citing Russian aggression against Ukraine, called for the removal of two Russian tanks from a World War II memorial in Berlin Tuesday.
The newspapers, Bild and BZ, began a petition to the Bundestag, the German parliament.
“In a time when Russian tanks threaten a free and democratic Europe, we don’t want any Russian tanks near the Brandenberger Tor (Brandenburg Gate),” the petition reads in part.
The two tanks are within view of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, part of a memorial to 80,000 Soviet troops killed during the Battle of Berlin in 1945. Germany agreed to maintain all Soviet war memorials on its soil in 1990, part of the treaty establishing Germany’s unification.
Germany’s criticism of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine has been muted, in part because of the two countries’ trade ties and the burden of German wartime guilt.
The newspapers said they have no intention of diminishing the Soviet Union’s suffering during the war, but noted the display should not be linked “to the hegemonic military policies of today’s Kremlin leadership.”