Russia wants quick release of detained fans

MOSCOW Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:49pm EDT

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Ministry urged Poland on Friday to release Russian soccer fans detained 10 days ago after street battles with Poles on the night their teams met in a Euro 2012 match.

However, Poland's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the matter would be dealt with in line with the law.

Street clashes broke out when thousands of Russian fans marched towards the National Stadium in Warsaw before the Group A match against the co-hosts, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Masked hooligans attacked Russian fans and some Russians fought back, with both groups of supporters also clashing with the police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

Nearly 200 people were detained by police, including 24 Russians. Two of the Russians were expelled from Poland.

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on its website that Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov and Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Katarzyna Pelczynska-Nalecz had spoken and Moscow demanded that Russian fans should be released.

"From the Russian side, strongly underscored was a necessity of solving all the issues for an early return to the motherland of Russian soccer fans, detained in Poland during notorious incidents at the European soccer championship," it said.

But Poland's Foreign Ministry responded with a statement saying: "Minister Katarzyna Pelczynska-Nalecz responded that in Poland such cases are dealt with and will be dealt with in line with the currently applicable law".

The Poland and Russia national teams were knocked out of the soccer finals, being co-hosted with Ukraine, in the group stage.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Maciej Onoszko; editing by Ken Ferris)

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