Russia's ambassador to Poland was splattered with red paint thrown at him by protesters opposed to the war in Ukraine, preventing him from paying respects on Monday at a Warsaw cemetery to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II. Ambassador Sergey Andreev arrived at the Soviet soldiers' cemetery to lay flowers on Victory Day, which marks the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Allies. The major Russian patriotic holiday was celebrated with pomp in a parade at Red Square in Moscow. As he arrived at the Soviet Military Cemetery in the Polish capital, Andreev was met by hundreds of activists opposed to Russia's war in Ukraine, per the AP. The protesters first snatched away a wreath of flowers that he'd intended to lay at the cemetery and trampled it. Red paint was thrown at him from behind, before a protester standing beside him threw a big blob of it in his face.
The protesters at the cemetery, the final resting place of more than 20,000 Red Army soldiers who perished on Polish soil fighting while helping to defeat the Nazis, carried Ukrainian flags and chanted "fascists" and "murderers" at him, while some were dressed in white sheets smeared with red, symbolizing the Ukrainian victims of Russia's war. Other people in his entourage were also seen splattered with what appeared to be red paint. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounced the attack, saying on her messaging app channel that "we won't be scared," while the "people of Europe should be scared to see their reflection in a mirror." Zakharova added that "admirers of the neo-Nazis have once again shown their face."
Some Russian commentators suggested that the attack on the ambassador could prompt Moscow to recall him and ask the Polish ambassador to leave. The Polish government faced criticism for not providing the ambassador with more security, allowing for an incident to occur that Russia could use to depict Poland as hostile to Moscow. Poland's current interior minister, however, noted that Poland's government had advised the Russian ambassador against laying flowers at the cemetery, and noted that police allowed him to safely leave the scene. "The gathering of opponents of Russian aggression against Ukraine, where the crime of genocide takes place every day, was legal," Mariusz Kaminski noted. "The emotions of Ukrainian women taking part in the demonstration, whose husbands are fighting bravely in defense of their homeland, are understandable."
(Read more Poland