Russia demands Polish apology over embassy violence

MOSCOW Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:08am EST

1 of 3. Riot police form a cordon in front of the Russian embassy during the annual far-right march, which coincides with Poland's national Independence Day in Warsaw November 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Dariusz Borowicz/Agencja Gazeta

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia demanded an apology from Poland on Tuesday after far-right rioters threw firecrackers at the Russian embassy in Warsaw, reviving tension between countries that have long been at odds.

The Polish ambassador in Moscow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and told Russia wanted an official apology and compensation for damage done to the embassy in Monday's violence, which followed a nationalist march.

Russia also asked Poland to take steps to punish those responsible, protect Russian diplomatic buildings and "prevent a repeat of such provocations in the future", the ministry said.

A Polish Foreign Ministry statement had expressed deep regret about the incident and said such behavior deserved "strong condemnation".

Polish police used rubber bullets to break up groups of masked far-right youths when the nationalist march turned violent. The Russian ministry statement said "passivity and belated action by the police" were largely to blame.

The main target of the rioters appeared to have been any symbol of left-wing, liberal views; but for some Poles the Russian embassy is a symbol of repression during decades of Soviet domination after World War Two.

Russian media said that in addition to firecrackers, rioters threw bottles, stones and trash at the embassy and set fire to a police booth nearby.

Some Russian officials saw the violence in the context of strains between Russia and the EU over human rights and democracy as Ukraine prepares to sign a trade pact with Brussels that would mark a symbolic move away from Moscow's orbit.

One suggested the unrest showed the problem of nationalist violence is more serious in the EU than in Russia, where anti-migrant rioting rocked Moscow last month.

"The events in Warsaw show: Nationalism is immeasurably stronger in several EU countries than it is in Russia," Alexei Pushkov, the head of the international affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said on Twitter. "The EU should not lecture us but deal with its own members."

Mikhail Margelov, the head of the equivalent committee in the upper chamber, said the violence had "turned Poland from an influential member of the European Union into ... a third world country," Interfax news agency reported.

Poland has been a strong supporter of closer EU integration with neighboring Ukraine before a summit in Lithuania on Nov 28-29, at which Kiev could sign an association agreement and develop trade ties with Brussels.

Bitterness over the past mars ties between Moscow and Warsaw despite the collapse of communist rule in eastern Europe and the fall of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago.

Moscow and Warsaw traded blame last year after Russian and Polish soccer fans clashed on the night of a Euro 2012 match in the Polish capital. Bitterness also lingers over the murder of thousands of Polish prisoners of war in 1940 in Katyn, near the then Soviet city of Smolensk.

Mutual recriminations also followed the crash in April 2010 of a plane carrying the Polish president and 95 others to an event in Russia commemorating the massacre, killing everyone on board.

(Additional reporting by Lidia Kelly, Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Ralph Boulton)

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Comments (4)
Radek.kow1 wrote:
Apology for the police eventually protecting the embassy very well??? What a nonsense.

Nov 12, 2013 5:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
bigbudd wrote:
the poles should tell putin and the russians to EAT SH!T AND DIE SLOWLY!!!

Nov 12, 2013 6:07am EST  --  Report as abuse
The most prominent sign of US economic recovery is that the US regime resumed the financing of various Nazist, extremist and terrorist groups abroad, especially in Eastern Europe. It has been rather quiet for in the past few years, but it is obviously ramping up now. The SS veteran groups in Baltic states are getting more active again (they recently resumed calculating the damages from so called “Soviet occupation”, believe it or not), the Ukrainian war criminals and their sympathizers are raising their heads again. And now the Nazist movement on Poland attempted to attack Russian embassy. The flow of money from USA to support these activities is obviously increasing rapidly.

This is good news for anyone whose financial well-being depends on the economic state of Fascist/Nazist regimes around the world, USA being the prime example.

Nov 12, 2013 12:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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