Warsaw – Protesters opposing the war in Ukraine they threw red paint on the ambassador of Russia in Poland as he arrived at a Warsaw cemetery on Monday and was prevented from paying his respects to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II.
The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharovdenounced the attack and expressed “we will not be scared”, while “the people of Europe should be afraid of seeing their reflection in a mirror”.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau called the incident “very deplorable.”
“Diplomats enjoy special protection, regardless of the policies pursued by the governments they represent,” he stressed.
The Embassador Sergey Andreyev arrived at the cemetery of soviet soldiers to lay flowers for Victory Day, which commemorates the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Allies. The day was celebrated ostentatiously in a parade on Moscow’s Red Square.
When the ambassador arrived at the cemetery in Warsaw, he was greeted by hundreds of activists who oppose Russia’s war in Ukraine. The protesters first snatched the wreath that he had intended to place in the cemetery and trampled on it. Red paint was thrown from behind the ambassador before a protester next to him threw a large amount in his face.
Zakharova alleged that the “admirers of the neo-Nazis once again showed their faces.” He added that the attack, along with the removal of monuments to World War II Soviet Army heroes, reflected the “course of the reincarnation of fascism.”
The protesters carried Ukrainian flags and shouted at the ambassador “fascist” and “murderer”, and some were wrapped in white sheets covered in blood to symbolize the Ukrainian victims. Other people in the ambassador’s group were also sprayed with what appeared to be red paint.
Some Russian commentators hinted that the attack on the ambassador might prompt Moscow to withdraw it and ask the Polish ambassador to leave.
The Polish government was criticized for not providing more security for the ambassador. Others criticized the official for showing up at the cemetery in light of the war in Ukraine, describing his presence there as a provocation.
Also on Sunday, there were demonstrations in Warsaw against the war. The protesters towed a military tank with a tractor that they parked in front of the Russian embassy. Since the war began on February 24, images of tractors pulling Russian tanks have been symbols of the Ukrainian resistance.