‘It felt like it was war here’: Toronto residents allegedly targeted for flying Ukraine flag

A number of Toronto residents say they’ve been focused for flying the Ukrainian flag on their automobiles, with one individual saying an assailant broke their automobile window whereas two kids had been sitting within the again seat.

Michael Abrosimov moved to Canada from Ukraine in 1995 and says his spouse’s household is in Kyiv, the nation’s capital and a goal of an invading Russian navy pressure.

On Sunday, his household was driving to take part in Toronto’s “mega march,” a rally held in support of Ukraine, when he says his automobile was attacked.

In line with Abrosimov, as they had been driving in direction of an intersection close to Steeles Avenue and Bathurst Road, somebody approached their automobile and ripped the Ukrainian flag off.

The person allegedly threw it to the bottom after which walked again to a different automobile, which had a Russian flag flying, within the turning lane.

Within the warmth of the second, Abrosimov mentioned he received out of the automobile and grabbed the Russian flag and threw it on the bottom earlier than returning to his personal automobile.

“It felt prefer it was struggle right here. That is why I perhaps freaked out and I received out of the automobile,” he mentioned. “I remorse I sank to their stage and did the identical factor to them.”

Nevertheless, the scenario escalated when Abrosimov says the person returned and began smashing the glass close to the left passenger window of his automobile. His two younger kids had been within the again seat.

Abrosimov’s spouse was in a position to seize the second a part of the incident on video.

Within the video, a purple automobile is seen blocking the household’s method on the street. An individual sporting a inexperienced jacket and a face overlaying is seen approaching the automobile, choosing one thing up off the bottom after which hitting the window.

The sound of damaged glass might be heard, in addition to a toddler crying.

The purple automobile is then seen dashing away by the intersection.

“There aren’t any bodily damages,” Abrosimov mentioned. “I believe it is largely children shaken up. It is not day-after-day anyone simply smashes your automobile and breaks your home windows.”

The household says they didn’t find yourself making it to the march. As a substitute, they drove to a police station and spent the subsequent few hours submitting a report.

Abrosimov mentioned he has since heard from a number of different individuals who say they’ve been focused for supporting Ukraine, particularly incidents involving people who method automobiles with flags and tear them off. He mentioned he hopes folks proceed to report these incidents to the police.

York Regional Police confirmed late Monday {that a} 32-year-old man had been arrested in reference to the case.

In line with investigators, the suspect could also be concerned in no less than one different incident in Toronto; though no additional particulars have been launched.

The suspect has been charged with one rely of mischief underneath $5,000. Police say they’re nonetheless investigating the motivation for the incident “because the suspect just isn’t of Japanese European descent and suffers from a major psychological well being difficulty.” The suspect was not named for these causes.

In the meantime, a resident of Etobicoke says the Ukrainian flag flying on his automobile was stuffed into his exhaust pipe one evening and that his tires had been slashed the next day.

“All people was exhausted from watching the TV and all of occasions happening in Ukraine. We type of sat down, relaxed and this was simply disheartening,” Wasyl Moskal informed CTV Information Toronto.

Wasyl Moskal

Moskal mentioned his household returned from a rally in Toronto on Friday evening and located the flag within the exhaust pipe. Once they awakened within the morning, Moskal says the tires on two household automobiles had been deflated.

“This isn’t the town we reside in. All of us moved right here due to the peace and tranquillity of dwelling in Canada not this type of violence to be introduced over. It is uncalled for,” he mentioned.

Whereas Moskal mentioned he was disheartened, he additionally mentioned he won’t be eradicating the flags flying in entrance of his residence. He mentioned his neighbours have been supportive and have since moved their safety cameras in order that they cowl his residence, one thing he significantly appreciates.

“The flags won’t ever go down. That is the least we will do to assist the folks of Ukraine. There are folks dying there, so getting my tires slashed won’t cease me from attempting to fly the Ukrainian colors.”

Toronto police say the incident at Moskal’s house is being handled as a suspected hate crime. There aren’t any suspects presently.

Tire slash

Rallies have been held in Toronto practically day-after-day since Russian troops first started to maneuver into Ukraine. On Sunday, hundreds of individuals descended onto Nathan Phillips Sq. to name for an finish to the struggle.

Scattered combating in Ukraine was reported all through the weekend and quite a few explosions have erupted throughout the town. In line with Ukraine officers, more than 300 people have died and greater than 1,600 have been wounded to this point.

A whole lot of hundreds of individuals have fled Ukraine, heading to neighbouring nations in an effort to flee the violence.

With information from CTV Information Toronto’s Mike Walker

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