Skip to main content

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Patriotic messages in the form of tattoos and billboards have become popular in war-torn Ukraine.

The Ukrainian flag and other symbols are the favorite additions of clients of a tattoo parlor in Lviv.

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

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

Artist Natalia Tanchynets has seen clients come from several parts of Ukraine for similar tattoos. She said that 70% of the proceeds from her patriotic tattoos go to the Ukrainian military.

In her shop, where a red stop sign on a wall had the handwritten word “war” added, Tanchynets said she had had a range of emotions over the rise in patriotism.

While the war has been good for his business, “I’m so sad about this situation in my country.” Tanchynets said one of its customers was killed on the front lines last week.

The director of the Lviv Printing Plant, Yuri Kobryn, said he initially thought his business of creating billboards would be useless during the war. Since then, he has found creative ways to support Ukrainian troops.

Instead of advertisements, the Kobrin company now prints motivational messages to its country, in particular, to the Ukrainian army. Some are religious messages asking for the protection of the troops.

“The army guys were pleasantly surprised and asked me if I could make smaller versions that they could give to others,” Kobryn said. “So that we can help them in our victory.”

Russia invaded its smaller southwestern neighbor in February. Thousands of people on both sides are believed to have died and there are no immediate signs of a cessation of hostilities despite numerous rounds of diplomatic talks.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.