Russia ambassador to Poland attacked at memorial cemetery in Warsaw
Amid rampant Russophobia in the West and the widespread anti-Russian sentiment, Moscow's ambassador to Poland was not allowed to lay a wreath on the graves of Russian soldiers fallen during WWII on V-Day.
The Russian ambassador to Poland, Sergey Andreev, was subjected to an attack on Monday. He was doused with red paint while trying to lay a wreath at the cemetery of Soviet soldiers in Warsaw, Sputnik reported.
Andreev had arrived at the memorial cemetery of Soviet soldiers in the Polish capital, heading a delegation of diplomats to the site, accompanied by his wife.
Knowing about the visit in advance, people gathered on the territory of the cemetery and blocked his path into the site, shouting insulting slogans. They poured red paint on the top diplomat and his accompanying delegation.
The ambassador was prohibited from laying a wreath at the cemetery to pay tribute to the fallen Soviet soldiers, leaving the site accompanied by the local police following the attack.
Russia asks for response
The Russian foreign ministry on Monday denounced the attack on Moscow's ambassador in Poland, protesting to Warsaw in connection with the incident and demanding appropriate measures be taken.
"A strong protest was expressed to the Polish authorities for indulging neo-Nazis… The Russian foreign ministry demanded that Warsaw immediately organize a wreath-laying ceremony, ensuring its complete safety from all kinds of provocations," Moscow stressed.
Russia's top diplomatic body also said that it was trying to persuade Warsaw to take appropriate measures against the attackers while revealing that the police present there were "completely inactive" during the attack.
In response, Polish foreign ministry spokesperson Lukasz Jasina underscored that Warsaw "realizes the seriousness of the situation".
"We are aware of the seriousness of the situation, we are monitoring it," Jasina told reporters.
The wreath-laying ceremony and the attack come on the 77th anniversary of the Russian Victory Day, a day celebrated on May 8 in many countries, but due to a difference in time zones, Russia, and several other former Soviet republics celebrate it a day later.
On May 8, 1945, the commanders of Nazi Germany's armed forces signed the instrument of surrender, admitting defeat in World War II following brutal battles with the Soviet Union on the eastern front of the war, which dealt tremendous blows to the Nazi capabilities.
The Russian embassy in Poland had to limit the number of people invited to the Victory Day celebrations to senior diplomatic personnel due to widespread calls for violence against the attendees.
The Russian diplomatic mission had planned to hold the Immortal Regiment march and wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet Military Cemetery on Zwirki and Wigury streets in Warsaw in an open format, but had to reconsider due to public outrage.
The Russian Embassy in Warsaw informed the Polish Foreign Ministry earlier this week of the plans to hold May 9 celebrations in the capital and urged authorities to ensure public safety during the event. The mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski, went so far as to say that "the celebration of the aggressor" should be prohibited entirely.
That was not the first attack on Russian-related institutions and individuals, with the Berlin police recording more than 100 attacks of such background, including one on a Russian school.
Some organizations took action against Russian-linked works. The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra in Wales dropped Pyotr Tchaikovsky's famed 1812 Overture, which commemorates Russia's defense against Napoleon, from its schedule. One of the directors, Linda Robinson, felt the overture was improper at the time since its elements are "military-themed and come with the sound of a barrage of cannon fire."
Similarly, the University of Milano-Bicocca in Milan, Italy, reportedly suspended a course on famed Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky to avoid conflicts. Following a public outcry, the institution reversed its decision and stated that the course will remain on the curriculum.
The European Union has taken on a very staunch anti-Russia stance, adopting a propagandist narrative against Moscow in light of the fiasco with NATO over Russia's security concerns with regard to the alliance's eastward expansion.