A provocative towering sculpture left in the heart of Ukraine capital Kyiv, which bore an uncanny resemblance to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a handgun in his mouth, has been removed within eight hours its erection.

The steel structure called “Shoot Yourself” was erected without permission in a very prominent location—where a Soviet-era statue of Lenin once stood.

Despite its removal eight hours later, images of the sculpture had been circulated across the globe on social media.

One viewer responding to the image said: "I heard you need to visualise your wish for it to become true."

Another added: "Just do it."

The more than 20-foot-high steelwork shows a hand on the gun pointing inside the mouth that floats above it, according to photos taken by Agence France-Presse.

“Putler, did you understand the hint?” reads the inscription, using a portmanteau that compares Putin to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Sculptor Dmitry Iv took credit for the work, which CTV News said remained in the key Kyiv spot for on Saturday before it was removed.

His sculptures have been shown internationally, and usually he works in soft material, but he said this time chose rusted steel for its effect.

“The war is tough,” he said “Steel is tough. There should be no beauty in this.”

“Originally I had an idea to create something that would motivate our soldiers to keep on killing Russians,”

“The sculpture speaks for itself,” he said of the piece that took about a month to create.

“Putin is a war criminal and war criminals can do two things. They can either be put in prison, or shoot themselves.”

While he did not discuss why it was removed, Iv said it is being stored in a Kyiv warehouse ready to appear at a new venue, maybe in another city.

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