Russia’s ambassador to Poland has been drenched in red paint by protesters while honouring Soviet Union soldiers killed during World War II.
Crowds shouted ‘fascists’ at Sergey Andreyev as they surrounded him following 10 weeks of brutal strikes across Ukraine.
Footage shows Mr Andreyev wiping paint from his eye but not offering a big reaction after the attack at the Mausoleum of Soviet Soldiers in Warsaw.
Many demonstrators carried Ukraine flags to show their support for the war-torn country after President Volodymyr Zelensky warned ‘evil has been reborn 77 years after the Nazis were defeated in Europe’.
It comes on a pivotal day for Vladimir Putin, who displayed the Kremlin’s military and nuclear muscle at his long-awaited Victory Day celebration – meant to commemorate the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
Authorities had recommended the event in Warsaw – the only one of its kind to go ahead – be cancelled. Mr Andreyev said he was unharmed, according to RIA Novosti.
Some protesters – who stopped the ambassador from laying flowers – were dressed in white sheets smeared with blood, symbolising Ukrainian suffering.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed the ambush, as well as other attacks on Soviet-era WWII memorials and cemeteries, came from ‘supporters of neo-Nazism.’
She alleged it ‘proved what was already obvious, that the course has been set in the West for the reincarnation of fascism’.
Poland has been one of Ukraine’s biggest supporters, taking in more than three million refugees.
President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday it’s ‘hard to deny’ that Russian soldiers are ‘committing genocide’ following images of mass civilian graves. The Kremlin denies war crimes.
Addressing millions in a televised ceremony earlier today, Putin claimed he had to invade Ukraine as the West was ‘preparing for an invasion of our country’.
‘Nato is actively pursuing our territory. That is absolutely unacceptable to us’, he alleged.
‘We are talking about neo-Nazis in Ukraine that the US and its partners are working with.
‘Ukraine is receiving the most modern weaponry from Nato. The decision for this special military operation was forced and was the only correct decision.’
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has brushed Putin’s claim aside, saying he simply wants to intimidate the world.
‘Through the invasion of Ukraine, Putin, his inner circle, his generals, are now mirroring fascism and tyranny 77 years ago, repeating the errors of the last century’s totalitarian regimes,’ he said.
‘They are showing the same disregard for human life, national sovereignty and the rules-based international system.
‘The very system not least the United Nations Charter itself that we conceived together and for which we fought and were victorious together in the hope of saving future generations from the scourge of war.’