‘Totally unprecedented’: Ukraine flag sales soar at German factory

Far from the war in Ukraine, Eric Borney never dreamed his factory in the calm German countryside would smash sales records making Ukrainian flags.

'Totally unprecedented': Ukraine flag sales soar at German factory

“Usually we make four or five Ukrainian flags each year. But we’ve made 1,000 flags in 10 days,” he said, as steam rises from a roll of blue and yellow fabric dyed for Ukraine’s national banner.

“And it’s going up every day,” he added from his factory in Normandy in northwestern France.

At the entrance to the manufacturing site, the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag floats between France’s tricolour and the company’s flag.

For factory seamstress Marie-Christine Sebert, making a Ukrainian flag is “something important”.

“We are showing (the Ukrainian people) that we are there for them, despite everything, even if we are not fighting side by side,” she told AFP.

Other manufacturers across the world have reported a rise in demand for the Ukrainian yellow and blue flag since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

French company Doublet’s subsidiaries in Spain and Germany “are receiving similar requests,” according to the parent company.

Borney’s family business saw previous sales peaks for major national events, including the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks and France’s top performance in the 2018 World Cup.

But nothing of this magnitude for another country’s flag, which he said is “totally unprecedented”.

“We did not expect this at all. France is not a border country. It’s 2,000 kilometres away,” he said.

“But people are more affected than if it’s a war in Africa or a bit farther away.”

With the spike in demand, the small business shot into action, delivering flags in under four days.

Borney didn’t say how much he’s earned from the surge in orders, only that it’s “not negligible” — particularly after losses due to the pandemic and a surge in prices for raw materials.

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IN PICTURES: Over 100,000 march for Ukraine in German capital

More than 100,000 people attended a Ukraine solidarity march in Berlin on Sunday, police said, with many protesters dressed in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukraine flag.

IN PICTURES: Over 100,000 march for Ukraine in German capital

Police estimated the turnout at “at least a low six-number figure”, while organisers of the march said half a million had turned up.

Bearing posters like “no World War 3”, “Stop the killer”, or “Berlin at 640 km from the frontlines”, the protesters massed at the Brandenburg Gate, a stone’s throw away from the imposing Russian embassy on Unter den Linden.

READ ALSO: Germany set to shut airspace to Russian planes on Sunday

“It is important to me for Germany to show that it is standing for democracy in Europe,” said Hans Georg Kieler, 49, who had turned out at the demonstration.

Protesters crowd around the victory column and close to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to demonstrate for peace in Ukraine on February 27, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

He voiced approval for Germany’s decision to begin delivering armaments to Ukraine, but said he thought “we could have helped Ukraine more”.

Germany has stepped up its commitment to apply sanctions to Russia over the weekend, moving to ban Russia from the Swift global payments system and closing off its airspace to Russian planes.

Ukrainian Valeria Moiseeva, 35, was also at the march.

“I am personally disappointed by Russia, I hate Russia, I hate all Russians,” she said, adding that her mother was now sitting in a cellar in Kyiv in fear of bombs.

Protestors holding hearts in the colours of Ukraine march down the Strasse des 17. Juni road between the Victory column and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to demonstrate for peace in Ukraine on February 27, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

She said she had to be at the demonstration because “I can’t do more than that.”

Protestor wrapped in Ukrainian flags hold placards reading “Stop Putler” and “Europe, do you need more refugees?” stand in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to demonstrate for peace in Ukraine on February 27, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)
Some demonstrators nodded to the influx of refugees that will inevitably be one consequence of the war Russia declared on Ukraine on Thursday.
More than 368,000 refugees, mainly women and children, have escaped the military fire into neighbouring countries based on data from national authorities, the U.N. refugee agency said on Sunday.
A large number of those escaping have crossed over into Poland, where the authorities have counted some 156,000 crossing since the invasion started early Thursday.
Border guards counted some 77,300 arrivals from Ukraine on Saturday alone. The refugees have arrived in cars, in packed trains and even on foot.
Those who arrive with nowhere to go can count on the help of volunteers – both members of NGOs and private citizens. Others have also headed to Moldavia, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.