Just hours after police opened a criminal case into a stunt which saw a Ukrainian flag attached to one of Moscow's landmark Stalin-era skyscrapers on Wednesday, two Russian patriots 'retaliated' by decorating a sister building with a flag of their own.
"Our response to the nameless, high-climbing Ukrainians who messed with our star. [On] one of Stalin's skyscrapers — the Leningradskaya Hotel," a comment posted alongside an Instagram 'selfie' of two men holding a Russian flag said.
The counter-stunt received a divided response on social media —while some praised the men for their patriotism, others scorned the pair for the pointlessness of raising a Russian flag on a Soviet building.
Earlier on Wednesday, four suspects were detained for attaching a Ukrainian flag to the spire of a 32-storey residential complex in Moscow's central Tagansky district — another one of the '"Seven Sisters" — and covering the Soviet star on top of the building in Ukraine's official blue-and-yellow colors.
Though the Ukrainian flag-flyers have not yet officially been charged, a request from the General Prosecutor's Office on Thursday to have the case fall under "hooliganism motivated by political hatred" could see them put behind bars for years if they are found guilty.
It was not immediately clear whether police also intended to launch a criminal investigation into the Russian-flag incident.
The flag showdown comes as tensions between Kiev and Moscow remain frayed following Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March. The Kiev government has also accused Moscow of backing pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine — a charge the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.