WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Russia’s ambassador to Poland was splattered by red paint thrown at him by protesters opposed to the war in Ukraine, preventing him from paying respects on Monday at a Warsaw cemetery to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II.
Ambassador Sergey Andreev arrived at the Soviet soldiers cemetery to lay flowers on Victory Day, which marks the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Allies. The holiday was celebrated with pomp in a parade at Red Square in Moscow.
As he arrived at the Soviet Soldiers Cemetery in the Polish capital, Andreev was met by hundreds of activists opposed to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Video footage shows red paint being thrown from behind Andreev before a protester standing beside him throws a big blob of it in his face.
The protesters prevented the ambassador and others from laying their flowers at the cemetery.
The protesters carried Ukrainian flags and chanted “fascist” and “murderer” at him, while some were dressed in white sheets smeared with blood, symbolizing the Ukrainian victims of Russia’s war. Other people in his entourage were also seen splattered with what appeared to be red paint.
Police arrived at the scene to help the ambassador and other members of his delegation get away.
Protesters also marched in Warsaw to protest the war, bringing a tank on a tractor and parking it in front of the Russian Embassy on Sunday evening. Since the war began on Feb. 24, images of Ukrainian tractors hauling off Russian tanks have been symbols of Ukrainian resistance.
The Soviet cemetery is set amid a vast park on the route linking downtown to the international airport. It is the final resting place of more than 20,000 Red Army soldiers who perished fighting while helping to defeat Nazi Germany.
While Poland has removed some monuments to the Red Army in the years after it threw off Moscow-backed communist rule, it has allowed the cemetery to remain undisturbed.