Russia demands apology after Polish nationalists attack Warsaw embassy on Independence Day - Europe - World - The Independent

Russia demands apology after Polish nationalists attack Warsaw embassy on Independence Day

Attack opens up old wounds in near-neighbours' complicated history

Russia has demanded an apology, compensation and extra protection from Poland after its embassy in Warsaw came under attack from a nationalist mob.

The rioters were attached to a nationalist march to coincide with the country's Independence Day on Monday. They threw firecrackers, bottles and stones at the embassy, on the southern outskirts of the city centre, and torched a police guards' cabin. Police said 72 people were arrested, and 14 went to hospital with injuries.

The two countries share a tragic and bloody history which stretches back hundreds of years. Particular bitterness still surrounds Soviet domination of communist Poland from 1945 until the 1980s, and the Katyn massacre of 1940, in which thousands of Polish prisoners of war were slaughtered.

The Polish ambassador in Moscow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, where the Russians insisted Poland take steps to punish those responsible and "prevent a repeat of such provocations in the future".

Poland's Foreign Ministry expressed deep regret about the incident and said such behaviour deserved "strong condemnation".

Polish riot police used rubber bullets on Monday to break up groups of masked far-right youths who threw firecrackers and set fire to parked cars during a nationalist march through the center of the capital Polish riot police used rubber bullets on Monday to break up groups of masked far-right youths who threw firecrackers and set fire to parked cars during a nationalist march through the center of the capital Police used rubber bullets to break up the mob of far-right youths, but Russia said "passivity and belated action by the police" were largely to blame.

The day had started peacefully with a "Together for Independence" march, attended by dignitaries including President Bronisław Komorowski, and a ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

But, according to local press, shortly afterwards came the nationalist "March for Independence".

According to Polish news websites, police spokesman Mariusz Sokołowski said: "We are dealing with a group of several hundred people who are intent on breaking the law."

The day started with a ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier The day started with a ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier And Prime Minister Donald Tusk said: “This situation is unacceptable – this kind of event cannot take place. Those who tolerate and accept such events will bear responsibility.” He also suggested such marches might be banned in future.

But Artur Zawisza, one of the leaders of the march, which is spearheaded by the All-Polish Youth and the National Radical Camp (ONR), said: “No piece of paper from the Town Hall will stop us marching towards independence.”

Click here to see more pictures from the unrest

The nasty scenes occurred as international delegates gathered in the city for the UN's climate conference. The high-profile gathering is at the country's national stadium.

The main target of the rioting appeared to have been any symbol of left-wing, liberal views, with the rioters setting fire to a rainbow sculpture - a clear symbol of tolerance towards homosexuals in the strongly Catholic country.

Nationalists set fire to a rainbow installation Nationalists set fire to a rainbow installation According to Reuters news agency, some Russian officials saw the violence in the context of strains between Russia and the EU over human rights and democracy as Ukraine prepares to sign a trade pact with Brussels that would mark a symbolic move away from Moscow's orbit.

One suggested the unrest showed the problem of nationalist violence is more serious in the EU than in Russia, where anti-migrant rioting rocked Moscow last month.

"The events in Warsaw show: Nationalism is immeasurably stronger in several EU countries than it is in Russia," Alexei Pushkov, the head of the international affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said on Twitter. "The EU should not lecture us but deal with its own members."

Riot policemen advance to cordon off far-right protesters during the annual far-right march, which coincides with Poland's national Independence Day in Warsaw Riot policemen advance to cordon off far-right protesters during the annual far-right march, which coincides with Poland's national Independence Day in Warsaw Mikhail Margelov, the head of the equivalent committee in the upper chamber, said the violence had "turned Poland from an influential member of the European Union into ... a third world country," Interfax news agency reported.

Poland has been a strong supporter of closer EU integration with neighbouring Ukraine before a summit in Lithuania on Nov 28-29, at which Kiev could sign an association agreement and develop trade ties with Brussels.

Cars leaving the Russian embassy on Tuesday morning Cars leaving the Russian embassy on Tuesday morning  

Suggested Topics
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week