Russian ambassador attacked in Warsaw
Russia’s ambassador to Poland, Sergey Andreyev, was doused in red liquid at a wreath-laying ceremony in Warsaw on Monday. The diplomat was attacked while honoring the Red Army soldiers who died during World War II.
A video from the event shows Andreyev surrounded by a group of protesters with Ukrainian flags.
May 9 is the day that Russia and several other countries celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany and its allies. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army was partnered with Berlin during the conflict. Its leader, Stepan Bandera – a noted Nazi collaborator – is regarded as a hero by the modern Kiev government.
The embassy said last week that the Polish authorities had “recommended” canceling the traditional wreath-laying ceremony this year, as well as the Immortal Regiment march, in which people carry portraits of relatives who fought in the war.
The notice was given due to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, the embassy said. The mission canceled all other Victory Day events, but decided to carry on with Andreyev’s visit to the military cemetery on Monday.
The ambassador said he was unharmed, according to RIA Novosti. The liquid was initially reported as paint. However, Andreyev later said it was syrup.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned the attack by “the supporters of neo-Nazism.” The disruption of the Victory Day ceremony, as well as previous attacks on Soviet-era WWII memorials and cemeteries, “prove what was already obvious – that the course has been set in the West for the reincarnation of fascism,” she said.
The Foreign Ministry protested the incident, accusing Warsaw of “pandering to neo-Nazi hooligans.” Moscow demanded that Poland organize a new wreath-laying ceremony and guarantee “full security.”
Warsaw has been among the fiercest critics of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine and has pushed for tougher sanctions on Moscow.
Poland took in 3 million refugees after Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, of which almost 2 million remain in the country, President Andrzej Duda said this month.