A vandal has been caught on camera painting swastikas on a hostel for refugees from eastern Ukraine, news reports said, as Russia prepared to celebrate its National Unity Day holiday.
The suspected culprit, a 15-year-old boy, is accused of spray-painting swastikas on the walls, pavements, gates and trees around the Chaika campsite, which houses Ukrainians who have fled to Russia's Rostov region from their country's war-torn east, Russian media reported.
The vandalism took place the night before National Unity Day, which Russia marked Tuesday, regional news site 161.ru reported.
The teenager, who was identified through footage shot by the camp's video cameras, is likely to be registered as a juvenile offender and his parents may face a fine, the report added.
Camp director Dmitry Yushkovsky was quoted as saying the vandal had also spray-painted an "insulting slogan against the neighboring state [of Ukraine]" on a billboard at the site. He is also stands accused of painting swastikas on cars parked on the streets of the nearby town of Tsimlyansk, where he lives, news site Bloknot reported.
The four dozen or so Ukrainians staying at the campsite did not take the vandalism as a personal assault, Yushkovsky told Bloknot, adding that "apparently the boy is not quite right in the head."
Workers have painted over swastikas on the campground gates and some of the buildings, but "haven't been able yet to wash off the images from the trees," Yushkovsky told the DonNews site.
The vandalism came as the Kremlin's human rights council urged additional social programs to "prevent conflicts" between Ukrainian refugees and local Russian residents, according to a statement released on the National Unity Day holiday on Tuesday.
The teenager may have been inspired by Russian state-run media broadcasts that for months have described Ukrainian government supporters as "fascists."