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Kyrgyz police probe Ukraine flag on mountain named for Putin

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Police in Kyrgyzstan said Thursday they were investigating reports that a Ukrainian flag was planted atop a mountain named in honor of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

A Twitter user identifying as a climber posted on Tuesday a video of a Ukrainian flag flying next to a plaque marking the mountain as Peak Putin, 4,446 meters (14,587 feet) above sea level.

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“Some hooligans brought it here and planted it, we have no idea who they were,” the account posted, adding an emoji to denote sarcasm at the end of the post.

Kyrgyzstan, an impoverished country that is 90 percent mountainous, is a loyal Russian ally.

Police in the capital Bishkek told AFP Thursday that they had been in contact with two climbers whom a ranger had indicated as heading toward Peak Putin Tuesday evening.

“During questioning as witnesses, they explained that they discovered the flag after they climbed the peak and filmed it on a telephone,” the police spokesman told AFP.

The spokesman said the perpetrators of the crime could face a fine for “hooliganism.”

The user of the Twitter account that first posted the video wrote Thursday that her climbing partner had been questioned by police Thursday and said she was due for a police interview on Friday.

She added that people charged with removing the flag from Peak Putin had been in contact with the pair to ask how to get up the mountain.

Previously unnamed, “Peak Putin” took the Russian leader’s name in 2011 as Kyrgyzstan’s ties with Moscow strengthened after a revolution that occurred the year before.

Russia’s first post-Soviet leader Boris Yeltsin had been honored with his own mountain nine years earlier which is 5,168 meters (16,955 feet) high.
Both mountains are part of the Tian Shan system.

The pair are dwarfed in elevation by the 7,134-metre Lenin Peak (23,406 feet) on Kyrgyzstan’s border with Tajikistan, which is one of the tallest peaks in the region.

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