Watch: Spotlight Chases Projection of Ukraine's Flag on Russian Embassy

Russian Embassy Ukraine Flag Protest Projection D.C.
A Ukrainian flag was projected on the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, setting off an apparent game of "cat and mouse" with embassy staff. Above, a Russian flag is pictured at the embassy on March 3, 2022. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty

A viral video captures a Ukrainian flag being projected onto the Embassy of Russia in Washington, D.C., as embassy staff apparently mounted a furious attempt to chase the flag away.

A video of the incident shared to Twitter on Wednesday night shows protesters demonstrating against Russia's invasion of Ukraine by shining a bright projection of the blue and yellow flag onto the Russian embassy before being met resistance in the form of a white spotlight. The video, tweeted alongside the caption "More cat and mouse," had been viewed on Twitter at least 2.2 million times by Thursday evening and was one of several shared by Lawfare editor and senior Brookings Institution fellow Benjamin Wittes.

Protesters initially shined a larger projection of the Ukraine flag onto the embassy before staff washed it out with their own projection of the white, blue and red colors of the Russian flag. Wittes documented what he called the "special military operation against the Russian embassy" in a series of tweets on Wednesday that included several livestreams. The Russians quickly attempted to drown out the smaller, brighter projection with their own spotlight, prompting the activists to "make the flag dance" and forcing the chase.

"The Ukrainian flag and the Russian spot that's trying to blot it out are dancing together," Wittes said in one of the livestreams. "There's an awesome cat and mouse game going on, on the surface of the Russian embassy, between the Ukrainian flag and the Russian spotlight trying to blot out Ukrainian nationhood."

Wittes told The Washington Post that the projection was intended to show solidarity with Ukrainian refugees and those who were killed during the Russian attack on Ukraine. He said that the stunt had been planned for weeks and involved 14 donated theater stage lights projecting images onto the embassy from across the street, calling it during the livestream the "most invasive, obtrusive, obnoxious thing that I could do to Russian diplomats" without using violence.

The Russian attack has resulted in a heavy toll on civilians in Ukraine. Earlier this week, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights estimated that there had been at least 4,450 civilian casualties, including 1,892 deaths and 2,558 injuries. The organization said that it "believes that the actual figures are considerably higher."

Russian embassies around the world have been the site for multiple and ongoing protests against the country's invasion of Ukraine, including some similar to the one in Washington on Wednesday. Last month, protesters in Lisbon, Portugal, also bathed their Russian embassy in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Protesters in D.C. replaced a street sign outside the Russian embassy with one reading "President Zelensky Way" in early March. Street signs near Russian embassies in other countries have also been replaced with those bearing pro-Ukrainian messages.

Newsweek reached out to the Embassy of Russia in Washington, D.C., for comment.