Tattoos and billboards: Ukrainians wear patriotism on their sleeves

The Ukrainian flag and other symbols are favoured additions for customers at a tattoo parlour in Lviv

Patriotic messages in tattoos are becoming popular with Ukraine during the war with Russia

Patriotic messages in the form of tattoos and billboards have become popular in war-torn Ukraine.

The Ukrainian flag and other symbols are favoured additions for customers at a tattoo parlour in Lviv.

Olena Barlevych, 18, recently got a tattoo of the Ukrainian coat of arms with a military aircraft, symbolizing the fight to defend her country.

“This tattoo means a lot to us,” Barlevych said. “It is a very important phase for our country, which must go down in history, which must be passed on to future generations,” she added.


Artist Natalia Tanchynets has seen clients come in from several parts of Ukraine for similar tattoos. She said that 70 per cent of the proceeds from her patriotic tattoos are donated to the Ukrainian army.

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At her shop, where a red stop sign on a wall had the handwritten word war added to it, Tanchynets said that she had a gamut of emotions about the rush of patriotism.

While the war has been good for her business, Tanchynets said that she is very sad for the situation in Ukraine. She also said that one of her clients was killed on the front lines last week.

Lviv print shop manager Yuri Kobryn said that he initially thought his business that creates advertising billboards would be useless in the war, but since the war began, he has found creative ways to support Ukrainian troops.

Instead of advertisements, Kobryn’s company now prints motivational messages to his country, especially the Ukrainian army. Some are religious messages asking for protection of the troops.

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“The guys from the army were pleasantly surprised and asked me if I could make smaller versions that they could give to others,” Kobryn said.

Russia invaded its southwest neighbour Ukraine in February. Thousands on both sides have reportedly died, and there is no immediate sign of a halt in hostilities despite numerous rounds of diplomatic talks.

(With inputs from Agencies)