Russia’s Ambassador to Poland Sergey Andreev had red paint thrown over him by Ukrainian journalist Iryna Zemlyana on Monday as he tried to lay a wreath at a memorial to Soviet soldiers who died in Poland during World War II.
Poland’s former Ambassador to Ukraine, Jan Piekło, insisted the incident could have avoided “very easily, by calling our ambassador in Moscow back for consultations in Warsaw, thereby ensuring Andreev went home too.”
Piekło acknowledged that the diplomatic incident will be exploited by Russia and questioned whether the security provided for the ambassador was adequate. He understood, however, the outrage felt by Ukrainians for Russia as its forces murder civilians, rape and pillage, and believed the Russian ambassador had “reaped what he had sown with his arrogance during his stay in Warsaw.”
Asked to comment on whether the whole incident might not have been a Russian provocation, since the demonstrators seemed to have easy access and the ambassador did not seem very shocked by what happened, Piekło felt that this was unlikely and believed the anger of the Ukrainians was all too genuine.
Poland’s former Ambassador to Ukraine argued that the whole situation could have easily been avoided.
“I have repeatedly called for this ambassador to be made to leave Poland. But this did not happen and a decision was taken that he should be allowed to remain despite the fact that sending him back to Moscow did not mean that either the Warsaw or Moscow embassies would have to close,” explained Jan Piekło.
Asked whether he expected Russian retaliation for this incident, Piekło said he felt the Polish embassy was no longer able to function in a normal way in Moscow anyway, but explained he was against closing the embassy for now as “Putin will not be there forever.”
Closure would be an option if there was direct military conflict between Poland and Russia, he added.