Activists from Ukraine’s Femen group staged a demonstration in Milan on Thursday in protest of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s scheduled meeting with European and Asian leaders this week. Two protesters took their tops off and poured red wine over themselves, which they said signifies the blood of Ukrainians.
The activists called themselves “sextremists” and dubbed the demonstration the “Blood Bucket Challenge” in reference to the popular “Ice Bucket Challenge” that benefits ALS research that swept across the world this summer. One woman had "Stop ignoring Ukrainian bloodshed" written on her chest, while the other had "ASEM allies of Putin" written on hers, in reference to the Asia-Europe Meeting that Putin was scheduled to attend.
“The Blood Bucket Challenge at the Duomo Square symbolized Femen's outrage with the European tour of the Kremlin bloody dwarf,” a statement from the group's website read. “[The] Femen movement urge[s] world leaders to shut the Milanese trap, arrest the dictator and to hand him over to the international tribunal. The Hague tribunal's prison yard should be the only European venue for Putin. Dictatorship must die! No to the war in Ukraine! F--- you Putin!” The NSFW pictures are available on Femen’s Twitter or the group's website.
Putin is set to touch down in Milan for the ASEM summit with Asian and European leaders later today. He is scheduled to meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for breakfast on Friday morning. They are expected to discuss potential gas deals and an end to the now-calmed crisis in Ukraine. Putin will also have a chance to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss European sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
Femen has chapters across the world and is known for staging attention-getting protests. Femen conducted another “Blood Bucket Challenge” earlier this month outside the Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kiev. A Femen activist was fined $7,176 on Wednesday after she tackled and stabbed a wax statue of Putin at a Paris wax museum.