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UPDATE 2: Russian envoy was advised not to celebrate publicly in Warsaw on May 9: Polish gov't spokesman

09.05.2022 22:00
The Polish government spokesman said on Monday that Russia’s ambassador had been advised not to lay flowers at a Soviet cemetery in Warsaw on May 9 amid public outrage over the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine.
Russias ambassador to Poland, Sergiy Andreev, is doused with red paint by anti-war protesters at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw, on May 9, 2022.
Russia's ambassador to Poland, Sergiy Andreev, is doused with red paint by anti-war protesters at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw, on May 9, 2022.PAP/Leszek Szymański

Piotr Müller told reporters: “The Polish authorities had notified the Russian embassy of the risks involved when an official from a country that invades other states, that conducts a policy of genocide in Ukraine, publicly lays flowers, which … may be met with protests from the public.”

The Russian ambassador, Sergiy Andreev, was splashed with red paint by anti-war protesters as he attempted to lay wreaths at the graves of Soviet soldiers in Warsaw earlier in the day.

Müller said the Polish government "wants all demonstrations that take place in Poland to be peaceful."

He added, however, that he could "relate to the emotions that surface when we see children and families being killed and crimes of genocide being committed in Ukraine.” 

The incident

Andreev was doused in red liquid by anti-war campaigners at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw as he appeared in public to mark the anniversary of the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

After the pro-Ukraine protesters splashed red paint on him, Andreev returned to his car, telling reporters he was “proud” of his country and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

He was later quoted by Russian media as saying he did not suffer any injuries and did not notify the police, but would “submit a note of protest” to the Polish government over "failure to maintain public order."

Paint attack on Russian ambassador ‘regrettable’: FM

Poland’s top diplomat Zbigniew Rau called the incident “regrettable, ” adding that it “should not have taken place.”

The Polish foreign ministry said in a statement: “The event which occurred today while the Ambassador of the Russian Federation was about to lay a wreath at the Soviet Military Cemetery was a regrettable incident which should not have taken place.”

It added: “The diplomats enjoy particular protection, irrespectively of policies pursued by their governments.”

“The emotions of Ukrainian women are understandable’: interior minister

Meanwhile, Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński said on Twitter: “The rally against the Russian aggression on Ukraine, where the crime of genocide is being perpetrated every day, was legal.”

He added: “The emotions of the Ukrainian women taking part in the protest, whose husbands are fighting bravely in defence of their homeland, are understandable.”

Kamiński also said that Polish authorities “did not recommend” that Andreev lay the flowers at the Warsaw cemetery on May 9, Russia's Victory Day, and that police enabled him “to safely drive away from the scene.”

Russia's May 9 event in Warsaw cancelled

At the weekend, the Russian embassy announced it was cancelling its traditional May 9 event, after Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski said there would be “no consent ... to the aggressor’s celebration."

The Polish foreign ministry also refused to support the memorial event amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reporters were told. 

Nevertheless, Andreev decided to proceed with his plan of laying wreaths at the Soviet cemetery.

The 19-hectare Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw holds the remains of more than 20,000 troops who lost their lives between 1944 and 1945, according to the PAP news agency.

Monday was day 75 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, gov.pl