A giant hammer and sickle have been removed from Kyiv’s iconic Motherland Monument as part of a campaign to remove Soviet symbols which has ramped up since the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

 

The imposing 62-meter-high steel statue portrayed a woman holding a shield adorned with a hammer and sickle, as well as a sword, and was erected in 1981 to commemorate the Soviet victory in World War II.

 

On Tuesday afternoon, the hammer and sickle were removed in a hugely symbolic moment.

Known locally as Batkivshchyna Maty, which translates to "Fatherland Mother," it stands atop a war museum building.

 

In recent weeks, workers suspended from a rail atop the shield have been gradually dismantling the Soviet emblem's grain and ribbon elements and lowering them using ropes.

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In accordance with a plan supported by Ukraine's culture ministry, the figure is scheduled to receive a new shield featuring the country's trident emblem. There also has been a proposal to rename it "Ukraine Mother."

 

The project to replace the shield is estimated to cost 28 million hryvnias ($758,000), but officials assure the public that corporate donations, not state funds, will cover the expenses.

 

The Culture minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, who had initially supported the initiative, resigned last month amid criticism about the cost of culture projects during wartime.

 

A survey made by the culture ministry in the previous year revealed that 85 percent of Ukrainians supported the removal of the hammer and sickle. In the wake of Russia's invasion, Ukraine has expedited efforts to eliminate references to Soviet history and Russian culture from geographical names.

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