Russia accuses Poland of inaction after Victory Day incident

The incident happened at the wreath-laying ceremony at the military memorial cemetery of Soviet soldiers in Warsaw. Some protestors poured red paint over the ambassador and other diplomatic staff members, while others grabbed the wreath.  [Shutterstock/OnePixelStudio]

The Russian foreign ministry has accused Polish authorities of not taking sufficient steps to prevent the pelting with red paint of Russian Ambassador Sergey Andreev at the Victory Day ceremonies in Warsaw, and called the country to arrange a new ceremony during which absolute security is assured, Russian TASS agency reported.

The incident happened at the wreath-laying ceremony at the military memorial cemetery of Soviet soldiers in Warsaw. Some protestors poured red paint over the ambassador and other diplomatic staff members, while others grabbed the wreath.

“Neo-nazi supporters once again showed their face – and this is a red face,” commented Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, as quoted by TASS. The incident “proved what has been obvious anyway: the West chose the course for the reincarnation of fascism,” she added.

The ministry’s official statement said that the incident happened “amid total inactivity of the police” and accused Polish authorities of silently supporting those who attacked Andreev.

In response, Warsaw Police Spokesman Sylwester Marczak told the media that the police had been present at the cemetery “from the very beginning,” and after the protesters’ attack, it escorted the ambassador back to the car. The circumstances will be analysed and those responsible held accountable, the police spokesman added.

Ukrainian journalist Iryna Zemlyana later admitted that she poured the paint over Andreev, the UNIAN agency reported. The delegation “walked away with shame when we screamed ‘fascists’. We made it impossible for them to lay the wreath,” she said.

The Polish foreign ministry condemned the incident, which it said “should not have taken place” as “the diplomats enjoy particular protection, irrespectively of policies pursued by their governments.”

Russian media instead quoted Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński, who admitted that “he understands the emotion of Ukrainian women, whose husbands bravely defend their homeland.”

The demonstration was legal and Polish authorities “did not recommend the ambassador lay a wreath on 9 May in Warsaw,” Kamiński added.

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