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The Russian ambassador to Poland was covered in fake blood during a visit to Warsaw on Monday (Photo: via Associated Press)
Russia’s ambassador to Poland was surrounded by a large crowd who threw fake blood at him while chanting “fascists” and “murderers” on Monday.
Sergey Andreev was in Warsaw to pay respects to the Soviet soldiers who died during World War 2. His arrival coincided with the national holiday known as Victory Day, where Russians still celebrate defeating Nazi Germany to this day.
Hundreds of protesters, furious at Russia’s barbaric treatment of Ukraine, stood in Andreev’s way of the memorial and snatched away the wreath of flowers he wanted to place at the cemetery, where more than 20,000 Red Army soldiers are buried.
The activists trampled on the flowers, before dousing him in red paint from behind and beside him – some of his entourage were hit by the red liquid too.
Some activists carried Ukrainian flags as they surrounded the ambassador, while others donned white sheets also smeared with red liquid. The demonstration clearly meant to symbolise the thousands who have died since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
— Piotr Halicki (@Piotr_Halicki) May 9, 2022
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova hit out against the attack, declaring: “Admirers of the neo-Nazis have once again shown their face.”
She suggested that this assault reflected the “course for the reincarnation of fascism”, as did the removal of Soviet statues from around Europe which has occurred in the weeks since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Zakharova promised on her messaging app channel that “we won’t be scared” but that the “people of Europe should be scared to see their reflection in a mirror”.
The Polish government has subsequently been criticised for not providing more security for the ambassador amid fears that the Kremlin might eject the Polish ambassador from Russia in return, while others saw Andreev’s appearance in Warsaw as a provocation.
Demonstrations in Warsaw have been building since the war broke out – on Sunday evening, activists parked outside the city’s Russian Embassy with a tank carried by a tractor.
This seemingly bizarre image has become a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance, as Ukrainian farmers have been pictured hauling off Russian tanks ever since war broke out.
Andreev’s decision to make such a gesture on Victory Day adds to the growing tensions between Europe and Russia.
Russian president Vladimir Putin furiously blamed the West for Russia’s attacks on Ukraine during his Victory Day speech, by suggesting Western allies were looking to invade “our land”.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also denounced Poland’s politicians last week for being “openly hostile” towards Russia. He even claimed that Poland “may pose a threat to the territorial integrity of Ukraine”.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.