Kyiv authorities on Tuesday began taking down a Soviet-era monument celebrating friendship with Russia – more than two years into an invasion by Moscow that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

“City municipal services have begun dismantling” the monument, the mayor's office said on social media.

The monument commemorates the signing in 1654 of a treaty binding Ukraine to Russian rule. 

The structure – a series of stone sculptures depicting the treaty’s Ukrainian and Russian signatories – was installed in a park in central Kyiv as part of a memorial complex celebrating the “friendship” between Russians and Ukrainians.

Since the invasion began in 2022, Kyiv authorities had already taken down two bronze statues depicting a Ukrainian and a Russian worker at the same site.


“The dismantlement could take several days since the structure is quite massive. It includes around 20 pieces” weighing between six and seven tonnes each, the mayor's office said.

The monument will be transferred to a Kyiv museum.

Residents of the capital were divided over the dismantling. 

“It has to be done,” said Alyona Yavorivska, a 32-year-old psychologist.

“I don't understand how a monument like that can still stand here,” she said.

But Oleksandr Severyn, a 32-year-old fireman, said the removal was “inappropriate” and officials should instead be spending money on the army during wartime.

Ukraine, which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, has for years been taking down Soviet-era monuments and has re-named many towns and cities to restore their pre-Soviet names.

This process accelerated following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the February 2022 invasion.

Ukraine last year passed a law on “decolonization” to change street names and take down more monuments.

In Kyiv, a square once named after Russian author Leo Tolstoy is now called “Square of Ukrainian Heroes.”

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