Washington DC

How DC Got Its Ukrainian Flags Amid a Shortage

It turns out, the answer is in an old warehouse in Southeast

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Ukrainian flags are in high demand and hard to find as many want to show their support for the country. So, when dozens of the flags appeared along Pennsylvania Avenue, News4 wondered how D.C. obtained so many of them so quickly. It turns out, the answer is in an old warehouse in Southeast D.C.

The D.C. Department of Transportation installed the Ukrainian flags before President Joe Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

From the White House to the U.S. Capitol, each Ukrainian flag is flanked by American and D.C. flags along Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

Although many people are having trouble finding Ukrainian flags to buy right now, D.C. didn't have to buy them. In an alley in Southeast, inside a small warehouse, DDOT has thousands of flags from all around the world.

"Over 9,000 for 93 countries," DDOT's Sign Installation Supervisor Charles Stewart told News4.

From Algeria to Zimbabwe, the rows of flags fill an entire room.

Part of Stewart's job is to manage all of them.

"We have to be ready to install them. We have state visits from other countries and we post the flags on parade routes, which are on Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue and in front of some embassies," he said.

In addition to countries, there are also NATO and United Nations flags.

Stewart said after the District installed the Ukrainian flags, DDOT's phones started ringing.

"There were calls requesting flags to be sold, but because there's no flags - no Ukrainian flags to be found," he said.

Stewart said the federal government supplies the flags for foreign nations.

"The other flags other 51 star they come from the state department," he said.

D.C. special ordered the U.S. flags with 51 stars as a protest for lack of Congressional representation.

But there's a simple way to tell them apart from the traditional American flag before counting all of the stars.

"The white flag pole," Stewart said.

Every other flag that D.C. has is hung on a brown wooden pole.

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