Posted on: March 1, 2022, 06:31h.
Last updated on: March 1, 2022, 06:31h.
The Russian ambassador to Malta, Andrey Lopukhov, won’t be able to brag of being part of an exclusive group anymore. He has lost his membership to Casino Maltese, a posh social club for only the best and most reputable members of society.
Casino Maltese announced today that it has suspended the ambassador’s membership over Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. The club’s management took the action in response to the “harsh and baseless decision” Russian President Putin made when he decided to take control of the country.
Ambassador Non Grata in Malta
The membership suspension is a sign of opposition to Putin’s illegal incursion. It also hopes to address his blatant violation of international law and his willingness to commit genocide to further his own ambitions.
In announcing that the ambassador was not welcome, the Casino Maltese management added, “We are determined to uphold the ethos of the Casino Maltese as enshrined in the motto Omnibus Idem (All Equal).”
All ambassadors to Malta are automatically given memberships to the exclusive club, which dates back almost 400 years. It was inaugurated, according to its own documentation, in March 1852 and is a “living society of prestige.”
The primary building was once used by the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. The early Catholic military group established its headquarters in Malta in 1530, remaining until 1798. During that time, the Casino Maltese property served as the group’s House of the National Treasurer.
Lopukhov In a Difficult Spot
Lopukhov just began his appointment as Russia’s ambassador to Malta in October of last year. Around two months later, he officially made his first appearance in the country. Now, two months later, he’s the figure of what Russia’s president stands for back home in the motherland. It must be awkward, to say the least.
Ukrainians living in Malta – joined by local Maltese citizens and others – have held numerous protests in front of the Russian embassy over the invasion. Malta Today reports that everyone, from young children to the elderly, line up outside the gates. They voice their opinion through signs and traditional Ukrainian music.
Protestors also gather in other locations around Malta. Repubblika, a civil organization that promotes human rights and democracy, has organized a number of events in protest of the invasion. It said in a statement today, “Maltese and Gozitans of goodwill are invited to visit the squares and open spaces of their towns and villages tomorrow Wednesday between 6pm and 9pm and take a photo of themselves placing flowers and candles with posters depicting the message #WeStandWithUkraine.”
Malta has joined virtually all of Europe in closing its airspace to Russian planes. Across the region, with exceptions for humanitarian and emergency aid, Russian private and commercial flights aren’t welcome. As of the most recent update, only Turkey, Switzerland, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo still have open airspaces.