Russia slams Polish ‘seizure’ of embassy school in Warsaw

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Security guards stand at the gate of the Russian embassy school in Warsaw [Kuba Atys/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via Reuters]

Moscow says the Polish authorities burst onto the embassy school’s grounds with the aim of seizing it.

Russia has promised that it will respond harshly to what it said was Poland’s illegal seizure of its embassy school in Warsaw, an act it called a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

Polish state-run news channel TVP Info reported that police had shown up outside the Russian embassy school on Kieleckiej Street in Warsaw on Saturday morning.

When asked about the incident, a Polish foreign ministry spokesman told the Reuters news agency that the building housing the embassy school belonged to the Polish state.

Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the Polish authorities had burst onto the embassy school’s grounds with the aim of seizing it.

It said Poland’s “hostile actions” are a “blatant violation” of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and another encroachment on Russian diplomatic property.

“Such an impudent step by Warsaw, which goes beyond the framework of civilized interstate communication, will not remain without our harsh reaction and consequences for the Polish authorities and Poland’s interests in Russia,” the ministry stressed.

In a separate statement on Telegram, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova qualified the actions of the Polish authorities as “provocation”.

“Official Warsaw has been violating the law for many years: international legislation, bilateral agreements, domestic legislation. Behaves defiantly and unlawfully. What can be described in one word – provocation,” Zakharova said.

Russian embassy school in Warsaw
People leave the building of the Russian embassy school in Warsaw [Kuba Atys/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via Reuters]

Poland acting within law: official

Lukasz Jasina, a Polish foreign ministry spokesman, told Reuters that it was Russia’s right to protest but that Poland was acting within the law.

“Our opinion, which has been confirmed by the courts, is that this property belongs to the Polish state and was taken by Russia illegally,” he said.

Sergei Andreyev, Moscow’s ambassador to Poland, had earlier told Russian state news agencies that the building housing the embassy school was a diplomatic one which Polish authorities had no right to seize.

The two countries’ already fraught relations have soured further over the war in Ukraine with Warsaw positioning itself as one of Kyiv’s staunchest allies, playing a leading role in persuading allies to provide it with heavy weaponry.

Andreyev, the Russian ambassador, said earlier this week that Polish prosecutors had seized significant amounts of money from the frozen bank accounts of the Russian embassy and trade mission.

In March 2022, Poland said it was expelling 45 Russian diplomats suspected of working for Moscow’s intelligence services.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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