This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The name of the Prague street in front of the Russian Embassy has been changed to Ukrainian Heroes Street and a bridge nearby has been renamed in honor of a Ukrainian soldier.
Prague city officials and Ukraine’s ambassador to the Czech Republic were on hand on April 22 as street signs bearing the new names were posted at the sites.
The decision to rename a segment of the street and the bridge, which was approved by Prague municipal lawmakers and the city’s topographical commission last month, came into force on April 22. The street was previously named Korunovacni Street.
The renamed street will not affect locals as there are no residential buildings in the renamed segment.
The renamed bridge is a railway bridge next to the site that now bears the name of Vitaliy Skakun, a Ukrainian soldier who blew himself up to destroy a bridge in the Kherson region to block the progress of Russian troops on February 24, the day the Kremlin started its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posthumously gave Skakun the title Hero of Ukraine.
It’s not the first time Prague officials have made a political statement to Russia around its embassy.
In 2020, they renamed a square next to the embassy after Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and outspoken critic of the Russian government who was fatally shot in February 2015 near the Kremlin.
The same year, Prague’s mayor named a promenade in a park behind the embassy after Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Politkovskaya’s dogged reporting exposed high-level corruption in Russia and rights abuses in its North Caucasus region of Chechnya. New York-born Politkovskaya was shot dead near her Moscow apartment building on October 7, 2006.