Japanese Airline Ditches ‘Z’ Symbol That Russia Used On Its Military Vehicles To Reign Terror On Ukraine

The letter ‘Z’ has come to represent the Russian military operations in Ukraine since the launching of the invasion in February. The letter appeared on the Russian tanks and other weaponry and became a symbol of the invasion.

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In a rare move, low-cost Japanese airline Zipair Tokyo has announced that it will remove the letter ‘Z’ from its logo, a pro-war symbol generally found on Russian military vehicles, to avoid ‘misunderstanding,’ The Japan Times reported. The decision, however, comes after almost four months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Some individuals may interpret the present emblem airline’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the president of Japan Airlines’ wholly-owned subsidiary, who spoke to the media at Narita Airport near Tokyo.

“I think some people might feel that way when they see it without any explanation,” Shingo Nishida noted.

Zipair Tokyo airline’s Boeing 787-8 aircraft with the ‘Z’ symbol on its tail- Wikiwand

According to the company, the new logo will feature a geometric pattern in green, black, and white. Currently, the low-cost airline connects Narita with Bangkok, Seoul, Honolulu, Singapore, and Los Angeles.

The vertical tail of its B-787 planes bears the letter ‘Z.’ The company will introduce the new logo over the weekend.

The announcement by the Japanese airline comes just weeks after the Japanese Air Self Defense Force conducted a tactical joint military exercise with the US Air Force in response to Russia-China joint patrol in the Asia-Pacific. Russia remains marred in territorial disputes with Japan as well.

File Image: Russian Z Symbol

After over a month of launching the invasion in Ukraine, Russia started to intimidate Tokyo in late March. It conducted massive military drills on disputed islands near Japan with nearly 3,500 troops, including Su-35 multirole fighters, Mi-8 multirole helicopters, Bastion-P coastal defense system, T-72B3 tanks, Orlan-10 multi-purpose UAVs, among others, according to a report by the EurAsian Times.

Russia has intensified its artillery fire against the Ukrainian positions in Eastern Donbas territory. On June 14, the Ukrainian President made an emotional pitch to the world for additional aid to change the war’s course. The United States then pledged another 1 billion dollars to Kyiv.

The Marker of Russian War- Symbol ‘Z’

The “Z” has become a fiercely pro-war sign in Russia, symbolizing President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to multiple accounts, the ‘Z’ emblem was first seen on Russian assault vehicles on February 22 as they entered the Donetsk region. Other reports claim that the symbol first appeared on combat vehicles in Crimea in 2014 when Russia seized the peninsula.

Since the Russian military operation began, the circulation of photographs with the ‘Z’ symbol has been rife on social media. Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak sported the letter on his jersey, for which the International Gymnastics Federation banned him for a year.

Russian Gymnast Ivan Kuliak sporting the Z symbol in support of Russia’s invasion (via Twitter)

The real reason behind the use of the letter by Russia, however, has remained shrouded in mystery. While ‘Z’ is written differently in the Russian Cyrillic script and resembles a 3, most Russians recognize Latin letters. The ‘Z’ is a powerful and widely recognized symbol, said Emily Ferris, a Russia and Eurasia research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) to BBC.

“Often with propaganda, the simplest things catch on the quickest,” she says. “It looks rather intimidating and quite stark. From an aesthetic perspective, it’s a potent symbol.”

The ‘Z’ emblem on Russian military vehicles may have two meanings: “Za pobedy,” which means ‘victory,’ and “Zapad,” which means ‘west.’ The ‘Z’ provides a means for Russia’s military to detect and differentiate its adversarial forces.

Nutshell India on Twitter: "The #Russian #tanks invading #Ukraine are painted with "Z" and other symbols — here's what they mean? #RussianUkrainianWar #RussiaUkraine #UkraineRussiaWar #UkraineWar #UkraineRussiaConflict https://t.co/4GaBZnKGmo" / Twitter
The ‘Z’ symbol on the Russia tank (via Twitter)

Since the invasion began, Russian armed vehicles with the letter ‘Z’ painted on them have roamed the streets of Kyiv and other cities. The white ‘Z’ emblem has a wide circulation on social media, stylized in broad brushstrokes.

However, in April, the Russian forces began removing the letter ‘Z’ from their military vehicles. They started to mount Ukrainian flags in preparation for provocations in the Zaporizhia region, as the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed flagged in a Facebook post.

EurAsian Times had observed that the erasure of the symbol and erecting of enemy flags was an attempt at camouflaging to prevent being recognized by the civilians of Zaporizhzhia and avert scrutiny by the Ukrainian troops and volunteer forces.

The alphabet has become the symbol of the Russian invasion that it refuses to call anything apart from a “special military operation” aimed at de-Nazifying Ukraine.