Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russia Vows To Retaliate If Poland Removes WWII Soviet Monuments

A man rides a bike in front of a monument dedicated to Soviet Army soldiers in Warsaw. (file photo)

Russia will retaliate against Poland if it follows through on its decision to tear down Soviet-era World War II monuments, the speaker of Russia’s upper house says.

Valentina Matviyenko, head of the Federation Council and an ally of President Vladimir Putin, on July 19 called Poland’s plan a "blasphemous and cynical decision" and said the Foreign Ministry was drawing up retaliatory "measures" against Warsaw.

Polish President Andrzej Duda on July 17 approved amendments to a law banning the promotion of communism and ordered the removal of Soviet statues, including those commemorating the Red Army, within a year.

Moscow said the Polish move violated a 1992-94 agreement in which Poland had promised to protect such monuments.

Russia says the removal of the monuments would be a "serious insult" to more than 600,000 Soviet troops who lost their lives liberating Poland from the Nazis.

But many Poles say the Soviet troops were occupiers and not liberators and should not be honored in the country.

Poland was under Soviet control for more than four decades after World War II, with the last Russian soldiers leaving only in 1993.

The former Warsaw Pact country is now a member of NATO and the European Union.

Based on reporting by Reuters, The Guardian, and Interfax