Pro-Ukraine protestors covered the Russian Ambassador to Poland Sergey Andreev with red paint while Andreev commemorated Monday’s Victory Day holiday in Warsaw, a symbolic showing of pushback against the Kremlin on a day many expected would mark Russian escalation of its war against Ukraine.
The protestors, many wearing Ukrainian regalia, prevented Andreev from entering the Warsaw cemetery of Soviet soldiers who died during World War II, according to the Associated Press.
The AP reports protestors called Andreev a “fascist” and “murderer.”
Andreev told reporters the Russian Embassy in Poland will formally protest the attack, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
Monday marks the Victory Day holiday in Russia, celebrating the Allied victory over Nazi Germany (most other countries celebrate the equivalent Victory in Europe Day May 8). The U.S. and U.K. predicted recently the Kremlin would escalate its invasion against Ukraine as part of the military holiday, such as making an official war declaration against Ukraine, but Russia has yet to do so. In his Victory Day speech Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin furthered his false narrative that Ukraine is overrun by Nazis, but notably didn’t declare victory in largely Russian-held regions in eastern Ukraine or make an official war proclamation.
“We can’t be intimidated,” said Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova in a Telegram post about the incident translated by Bloomberg. In the post, Zakharova emphasized the attack was evidence of the re-emergence of Nazis in Europe, a popular but baseless Kremlin justification for its widely condemned invasion.
This isn’t the first time red paint has featured prominently in the Russian war. Last month, an unknown assailant doused 2021 Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Dmitry Muratov with red paint on a train from Moscow. Muratov, the editor-in-chief of the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper known for its critical coverage of the Russian government.
Russian ambassador to Poland hit with red paint (Associated Press)
Putin Compares Invasion Of Ukraine With Fight Against Nazi Germany In Victory Day Speech (Forbes)
Kremlin Calls Reports Of May 9 War Declaration ‘Nonsense’—But The U.S. And U.K. Believe Putin Has Something Up His Sleeve (Forbes)