Russian and Polish officials exchanged harsh words on Tuesday over Poland’s recent move to demolish Soviet-era war monuments. Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned Poland of “consequences” if the demolition plans are carried out.
On June 22, Polish President Andrzej Duda approved amendments to an anti-propaganda law that would lead to the tearing down of Soviet-era monuments, which the Polish side has described as “symbols of a totalitarian regime.”
In an official statement released Tuesday, Russia's Foreign Ministry described the move as an "outrageous provocation.”
“The monuments of gratitude to the Red Army and the Soviet soldier-liberators remind us that thanks to the victory over fascism, to which the Soviet Union made a decisive contribution, Poland has remained a state and the Polish people were not annihilated or expelled, and remained to live on their lands,” the statement reads.
“The Polish authorities, undoubtedly, are well aware of how insulting their actions are to the Russian people.”
The statement says that more than 600,000 Soviet soldiers fought and were buried on Polish territory.
Poland’s Foreign Ministry explained, however, that the monuments at burial sites of Soviet soldiers will remain untouched, news outlet RBC reported on Tuesday, citing comments from Polish officials.
“Poland has always shown due respect and care for the graves of all fallen soldiers, prisoners of war and internees, regardless of their nationality and the circumstances under which they came to Poland,” the statement reads.
“The same goes for the graves of Russian and Soviet soldiers. This approach is part of Polish national tradition.”