Journalist charged with defacing Ukrainian military statue to fight accusation

EDMONTON — An Edmonton journalist says he's not guilty of spray-painting a statue of a controversial Ukrainian military commander and will defend himself against the charge he faces.

Duncan Kinney, who writes for Progress Alberta, was charged with mischief under $5,000 after the words “actual Nazi” were spray-painted in red on a bust of Roman Shukhevych on Aug. 10, 2021.

Kinney, who wrote about the vandalism the same day it was discovered, says he was arrested and handcuffed on Oct. 14 and questioned for about half an hour at Edmonton's main police station.

Shukhevych, who died in 1950, is honoured by some as a fighter for Ukrainian independence from the Soviet Union and abhorred by others for his willingness to collaborate to that end with Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

The defaced statue stands in the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in Edmonton, a facility that serves several Ukrainian organizations and rents banquet and reception space.

Kinney is a frequent critic of the city's police force and says the charges are an attempt to silence him.

"I will be pleading not guilty and defending this charge," he said in a statement released through his lawyer, Tom Engel.

"As many have pointed out, this appears to be an attempt by the EPS to silence and discredit a critic."

Kinney's next court date is Nov. 10.

Kinney is executive director of Progress Alberta, which describes itself as an independent, non-profit communications and campaigning organization dedicated to building a more progressive Alberta.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2022.

The Canadian Press