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Russian supporters are embracing the letter "Z" but what does it mean?

"Z" as we know it, doesn't exist in the Russian alphabet, but it's been spotted everywhere from Russian tanks to propaganda videos.

Why has the letter “Z” become a symbol of the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

"Z" as we know it does not exist in the Russian alphabet, but it has been spotted everywhere from Russian tanks rolling through Ukraine, to propaganda videos supporting Putin’s war.

Some commentators have even gone so far as to call it the new swastika. And it is proving to provoke strong reactions, just like that symbol of the Nazi regime.

The "Z" started popping up when Russian forces moved into Ukraine.

The symbol was used as an identifying mark on military vehicles. But now we are seeing it overtake social media in Russia.

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In one image, it claimed critically ill children and their caregivers formed a z in the snow to show support for Russian troops.

Accused spy and current Russian politician Maria Butina has been showing off her "Z" T-shirts on Instagram.

So what does it mean? The Russian defense minister claims it stands for "За победу" (pronounced za pobedu), which in Russian means “for victory."

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But in the Cyrillic alphabet a, the Z looks more like a 3. So why are they using this version?

Military experts say it's because it's a quick, simple way for Russian troops to mark a vehicle. That way they can tell friend from foe.

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