Protesters splattered Russia’s ambassador to Poland, Sergey Andreev, with red paint Monday — in an apparent nod to the blood spilled in war-torn Ukraine.
Protesters doused Andreev when he arrived at the Soviet Military Cemetery to lay flowers at the graves of fallen soldiers and pay tribute to Red Army soldiers who were killed in World War II. Russia celebrates Victory Day every year on May 9.
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“The demolition of monuments to the heroes of World War II, 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,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram, per Google Translate.
Upon his arrival at the cemetery, Andreev faced hundreds of protesters enraged by the war in Ukraine. Protesters snagged a wreath of flowers he planned to lay near the graves of Red Army soldiers, and others held up Ukrainian flags and flowers when he arrived on the scene. Some demonstrators called the Russian entourage "murderers" and "fascists" during the protest.
Footage of Andreev and nearby Russian officials getting covered with the red paint quickly made the rounds on social media.
Посла России в Польше облили красной краской на кладбище советских воиновhttps://t.co/QIOBcDwMBw pic.twitter.com/j6nzsH3dRl— РИА Новости (@rianru) May 9, 2022
Prior to the incident, the Russian Embassy in Poland opted to scale down its Victory Day festivities, canceling plans for a Victory Day march due to tensions in Poland over the offensive in Ukraine. Before Andreev arrived on the scene, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian demonstrators clashed, Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported.
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To the east, Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated Russia's Victory Day Monday with a military parade and blistering speech pinning blame for the war in Ukraine on the West.
"Today, you are defending what your grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought for. ... Our duty is to do everything so that the horror of a global war does not happen again," Putin said. "NATO countries did not want to hear us. They had very different plans, and we could see that. Russia gave a preemptive rebuff to aggression — it was a forced and sovereign decision."