Sergei Andreev, the Russian ambassador to Warsaw, was doused in red paint by protesters while trying to lay a wreath at a Soviet war memorial today
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Russian ambassador is doused in red paint and branded a ‘fascist’ by pro-Ukraine activists while laying flowers at Soviet war memorial in Poland

  • Sergei Andreev attempted to lay wreaths at Soviet cemetery in Warsaw today 
  • Ceremony, which embassy said would not be going ahead just two days ago, was interrupted by protesters angry over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 
  • Andreev was pelted with objects and then had red paint thrown into his face 
  • Police eventually arrived to escort him away, and he later said he was unhurt 

Russia’s ambassador to Poland was doused in red paint and pelted with objects as he tried to lay a wreath at a memorial to Soviet soldiers in Warsaw today.

Sergei Andreev was confronted by protesters as he tried to mark Victory Day – Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945 – at the Soviet Military ceremony in the Polish capital.

He was blocked from entering the cemetery by a crowd that waved Ukrainian flags in his face and chanted ‘fascist’ before people began throwing things at him. 

Andreev and his security detail were hit multiple times with projectiles before one demonstrator threw a bag of red paint into his face. 

Sergei Andreev, the Russian ambassador to Warsaw, was doused in red paint by protesters while trying to lay a wreath at a Soviet war memorial today

Sergei Andreev, the Russian ambassador to Warsaw, was doused in red paint by protesters while trying to lay a wreath at a Soviet war memorial today

Andreev was confronted by activists waving Ukrainian flags as he arrived with his entourage at the Soviet Military Cemetery in the south of Warsaw

Andreev was confronted by activists waving Ukrainian flags as he arrived with his entourage at the Soviet Military Cemetery in the south of Warsaw

The delegation where prevented from reaching the war memorial at the centre of the cemetery or laying the wreaths they had brought with them.

Instead, police had to be called to escort them away. Andreev said later that he had not been injured during the fracas.

But the incident highlights tensions that have been building between Russia and other former Soviet states since the invasion of Ukraine.

Poland – which has a long and bloody history with Soviet Russia – has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine since the early days of the war and has been on the receiving end of threats by Kremlin propagandists as a result.

Despite the threats, the Polish government has continued to supply weapons to Ukraine including sending more than 200 T-72 tanks to bolster its armed forces.

Russian state media was quick to seize on the incident in Warsaw as evidence of what it claims is growing anti-Russian sentiment in the West, motivated by what the Kremlin insists is Nazism.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Moscow’s foreign ministry, posted about the incident on her Telegram channel – saying that ‘fans of neo-Nazism have once again bared their faces, and it is bloody.’

‘The demolition of monuments to the heroes of the Second World War, the desecration of graves, and now the disruption of the flower-laying ceremony on a holy day for every decent person prove the already obvious – the West has set a course for the reincarnation of fascism,’ she messaged to followers.

A planned Immortal Regiment march – when families of soldiers killed during the Second World War walk through the streets holding photos of their dead loved ones – was also cancelled.

Authorities in Warsaw had warned such events could be illegal, because they were designed to show support for Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Polish law prohibits ‘public calls for aggressive war’ and the displaying of symbols linked to ‘fascist or totalitarian states’.

The Russian foreign ministry described the allegation as ‘absurd and unfounded’.

Ambassadors said at the time that they no longer planned to hold the march or wreath-laying ceremony because Poland was unlikely to ensure its safety.

It is unclear exactly why the ministry attempted to go ahead with the wreath-laying regardless, though images of the ambassador being attacked play nicely into the Kremlin’s narrative of Russia being surrounded by enemies.

Protesters also marched in Warsaw to protest the war, bringing a tank on a tractor and parking it in front of the Russian Embassy on Sunday evening. 

Since the war began on February 24, images of Ukrainian tractors hauling off Russian tanks have been symbols of Ukrainian resistance.

The Soviet cemetery is set amid a vast park on the route linking downtown to the international airport. It is the final resting place of more than 20,000 Red Army soldiers who perished fighting while helping to defeat Nazi Germany.

While Poland has removed some monuments to the Red Army in the years after it threw off Moscow-backed communist rule, it has allowed the cemetery to remain undisturbed.

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