Saturday 20 January 2018

Russia demands Poland apologise over embassy violence

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 a day after the violence and told that Russia wanted an official apology and compensation for damage done to the embassy.

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 in a statement.

It demanded an apology despite a Polish Foreign Ministry statement expressing deep regret about the incident and saying such behaviour deserved "strong condemnation".

Polish police used rubber bullets to break up groups of masked far-right youths when a nationalist march turned violent on Monday.

The main target of the rioters on Monday 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.

Bitterness over the past still mars ties between Moscow and Warsaw, despite the collapse of decades of communist rule in eastern Europe and the fall of the Soviet Union. Poland was a member of the Moscow-led Warsaw Pact military organisation but is now a member of NATO and the European Union.


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