Pro-Russia protesters rallied in Germany on Sunday, the country's significant Russian-speaking population demanding an end to the discrimination it says it has suffered since war began in Ukraine.

Germany is home to 1.2 million people of Russian origin and 325,000 from Ukraine. Authorities fear the conflict could be imported into Germany and the protests used to promote Moscow's war narrative.

Police have recorded 383 anti-Russian offences and 181 anti-Ukrainian offences since the Kremlin's invasion started on February 24.

Around 800 people descended on financial hub Frankfurt Sunday, police said, amid a sea of Russian flags to protest "against hatred and harassment", an AFP journalist saw. There was a heavy police presence.

The protesters were outnumbered by 2,500 people taking part in a counter-demonstration in support of Ukraine.

"I came here because I support peace," Ozan Yilmaz, 24, told AFP. "Children are beaten at school because they speak Russian, that's not acceptable."

Sebastian, 25, was also in the pro-Russia crowd. "The war didn't start this year," he said.

Around 600 people descended on financial hub Frankfurt on Sunday amid a sea of Russian flags
Around 600 people descended on financial hub Frankfurt on Sunday amid a sea of Russian flags AFP / Yann Schreiber

"It has been going on since 2014 and so I find that speaking of an attack" against Ukraine by Russia is "not really appropriate".

Police threw up a large cordon to separate the protesters -- marching behind a banner that read "Truth and diversity of opinion over PROPAGANDA" -- from a pro-Ukraine counter-demonstration near the city's central banking district.

Ukraine's ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, strongly opposed the green light given by German authorities to the protests, describing it as a "huge shame" for the country.

Melnyk also said it was a "declaration of failure" for the government's policy, which he viewed as ambivalent towards Moscow.

Approximately 600 demonstrators staged a car convoy in the northern city of Hanover following an appeal by the Russian-speaking community, local police told AFP, while 200 people took part in a rally in Osnabruck, northwest Germany.

Police said they were closely monitoring the convoy. A counter-demonstration in the city under the banner "Support Ukraine!" attracted 3,500 people, according to police.

Similar protests were held on Saturday in Stuttgart and in the northern city of Lubeck, where around 150 people took part.

Lubeck police said they had stopped a convoy of around 60 vehicles because it broke the law by expressing support for "Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine" and using "banned symbols".