Protesters in the Polish capital on Monday attacked Russia’s ambassador with red paint and prevented him from laying flowers at a cemetery for Soviet soldiers in memory of his victory over Nazi Germany.

When a delegation led by Russian Ambassador Sergei Andreev appeared at Warsaw’s Mausoleum Cemetery, hundreds of protesters opposed Russia’s war in Ukraine greeted them with shouts of “murderers” and “fascists”. While Andreev was stuck in the crowd, two bags of red paint hit him in the head first from behind, then right in the face.

Russian Ambassador to Poland Sergei Andreev reacts after he was covered in red paint during a protest in front of a ceremony at the mausoleum of Soviet soldiers in Warsaw, Poland, on May 9, 2022, the day of the 77th anniversary of the 1945 Soviet victory. Nazi Germany.

Wojciech Radwanski / AFP via Getty Images

Demonstrators then prevented him from laying flowers and a memorial wreath to the cells of the Russian embassy. Andreev and his delegation quickly returned to the car.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned the attack, saying in her news channel that “we will not be afraid” and “the people of Europe should be afraid to see their reflection in the mirror.”

But the current Polish interior minister noted that the Polish government had advised the Russian ambassador not to lay flowers at the cemetery.

“Gathering opponents of Russian aggression against Ukraine, where the crime of genocide takes place every day, was legal,” added Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski. “The emotions of Ukrainian women participating in the demonstration, whose husbands are courageously fighting to defend their homeland, are understandable.”

Russia on Monday celebrated Victory Day over Nazi Germany. The Mausoleum Cemetery in Warsaw was established a few years after the end of World War II and has the character of a large park. There are buried the remains of more than 20,000 soldiers who died in 1944 and 1945.

Poland has received more than 3.2 million refugees from its eastern neighbor since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.

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