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Night Wolves Arrive In Bratislava As Journey Toward Berlin Continues

  • RFE/RL

The leader of the so-called Night Wolves gang, Aleksandr Zaldostanov, has raised hackles by saying "Belarus is Russia."

The leader of the so-called Night Wolves gang, Aleksandr Zaldostanov, has raised hackles by saying "Belarus is Russia."

Russia's controversial Night Wolves motorcycle gang laid wreaths at a monument to Soviet soldiers in Slovakia's capital, Bratislava, on May 4 as they continued a journey aimed at reaching Berlin before May 9.

The outspoken Russian nationalists and supporters of President Vladimir Putin want to be in Berlin to mark the 71st anniversary of the allied World War II victory against Nazi Germany.

But the group, which faces U.S. sanctions over its active role in Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, was banned from entering Poland.

Opposition leaders in Belarus also have called for the motorcycle gang to be banned from their country in the future as "extremists" after Night Wolves leader Aleksandr Zaldostanov said in Belarus on April 30 that the country is part of Russia -- a statement seen as an illegal "denial of Belarusian sovereignty."

The Night Wolves have said they will stay in Slovakia until May 6 when they travel to Vienna.

Their plans also reportedly include a stop in Prague on May 7 at a monument to Soviet soldiers before they head to Berlin on May 8.

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