This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Protesters in Poland doused Russian Ambassador Sergei Andreyev with red paint as he attempted to lay flowers at a Soviet military memorial cemetery in Warsaw for Red Army soldiers who died during World War II.
Video of the attack on May 9 showed red paint being thrown from behind Andreyev before another activist standing beside him throws some on his face as they protested Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Andreyev was surrounded by the protesters opposed to the war in Ukraine who were holding Ukrainian national flags and chanting “Fascist, fascist!” Some were dressed in white sheets smeared with red paint symbolizing Ukrainian victims of the war.
They first snatched the wreath he intended to lay at the memorial and trampled it. Other people in Andreyev’s entourage were splattered with red paint as the delegation was prevented from placing the flowers at the cemetery to mark the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
Poland has been one of the harshest critics of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
More than 3.2 million refugees have flooded into Poland from Ukraine as a result of the fighting, which began on February 24.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounced the incident, saying on Telegram that “admirers of neo-Nazism have again shown their faces,” repeating Russia’s false assertion that it is fighting neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
Russia “won’t be scared,” while the “people of Europe should be scared to see their reflection in a mirror,” she said.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau described the incident as “highly deplorable.”
“Diplomats enjoy special protection, regardless of the policies pursued by the governments that they represent,” he said.