Kids at Russian cancer hospice pose in Z formation in show of support for Putin's troops in shocking propaganda stunt

TERMINALLY ill Russian children have been made to stand in the snow in a giant "Z" shape to show support for Putin's troops.

The kids stood in formation outside their hospice in the shocking pro-war stunt with the letter "Z" commonly known as a powerful symbol for Russian invasion.

In the last month, the letter "Z" has become synonymous with those who are pro-Putin and supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Derived from latin script, the insignia has previously been seen on Russian tanks and armoured cars who are attempting to take control of Ukraine.

The propaganda stunt was organised by Vladimir Vavilov who is the chairman of a cancer charity that runs a hospice for sick children in Kazan, Russia.

Mr Vavilov said as they stood in the shape of the letter "Z", patients held leaflets with the flags of Russia, the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) and Russian republic Tatarstan while holding their other hand in a fist.

He added: "Our patients and entire team took part in it, about 60 people in total."

It comes after Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak caused outrage by flaunting the war symbol while standing next to a Ukrainian athlete on the podium.

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Meanwhile Kremlin-funded TV channel Russia Today were recently slammed for selling "Z" merchandise endorsing the war.

Politicians, activists and influencers who support the invasion have also been spotted wearing clothes and badges with the letter "Z" on.

Russian MP Maria Butina, who was convicted in in the US in 2018 for acting as a foreign agent, posted a picture of her and colleagues in "Z" t-shirts. 

Vladimir Putin's forces were adorned with the letter as they rolled into Ukraine during the early days of the attack.

It is also thought the chilling symbol helps to distinguish the Russian machines from the Ukrainians and reduce the risk of friendly fire as both countries have very similar tanks and vehicles.

The "Z", which is sometimes also spotted inside a white box, has become synonymous with Russian troops trying to occupy Ukraine.

Russia analyst Rob Lee said on Twitter that he believes the symbols could also refer to contingents of the invasion force assigned to Ukraine regions.

Others, such as former field intelligence officer David Kime have theorised the Z could stand for the name of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who is a high profile kill target.

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