Polish activists block Russian ambassador from laying flowers at Soviet cemetery in Warsaw

Russian Ambassador to Poland Sergey Andreev.
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

A group of pro-Ukrainian activists in Poland have refused to allow Sergey Andreev, the country’s Russian ambassador, to lay flowers at the Soviet military cemetery in Warsaw to mark Victory Day, a holiday to commemorate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

Footage circulating on social media on Tuesday showed Andreev engaged in an altercation with several dozen activists from the pro-Ukrainian organization Euromaiden who blocked the ambassador’s path, chanted “Rasiści (Racists),” and called on him to leave Poland.

The activist group also erected an art exhibition to commemorate Ukrainian civilians murdered by Russian invaders, comprising hundreds of Ukrainian flags, makeshift graves for Ukrainian children killed in the conflict, and pop-up residential buildings destroyed by Russian shelling.

The Russian ambassador had informed the Polish foreign ministry about his intention to lay flowers at the cemetery last month, and called on Polish authorities for protection in anticipation of a repeat of last year when Andreev was attacked by protesters who doused him in red paint.

In a statement ahead of Victory Day, the Russian embassy said that the ambassador “expects that relevant Polish authorities will ensure appropriate public order during the celebratory events.”

“As you can see, we are facing an obvious disturbance of public order,” Andreev said on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, for the second time, we were unable to lay wreaths at the monument to Soviet soldiers who died here in the fight against fascism.”

Viktoria Pogrebniak, a Euromaiden spokesperson, explained the protest action was “to show the consequences of the Russian war against Ukraine.”

“Of course, they will try to show how they are still fighting against fascism. In fact, they are the ones who started fascism all over again, who gave it another name.

“We, of course, cannot demand anything. We only can ask. But our request is to see that Russian diplomats are sent away from Poland, are sent away from the civilized world, as they do not belong here anymore,” Pogrebniak added.

[pp id=36150]

Such a view was shared by Krzysztof Sobolewski, an MP for the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, who told Polish Radio on Tuesday ahead of the altercation that if the Russian ambassador should seek to provoke Polish citizens again this year by attempting to lay flowers, he should be removed from the country.

“The Russians didn’t liberate us, but replaced one occupation with another. If (Andreev) decides to repeat his actions from last year, then it is my hope that Poland will respond in a firm and resolute manner,” he told listeners.

Asked whether Poland should expel the Russian ambassador should he attend the cemetery on Tuesday, Sobolewski said: “In my opinion, yes.”

Share This Article