Russia vows harsh response after Poland “seizes” an embassy school in Warsaw

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia vowed on Saturday to respond firmly to what it said was Poland’s illegal seizure of its embassy school in Warsaw, in what it called a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Polish state-run news channel TVP Info earlier reported that police appeared outside the Russian Embassy School on Kieleckiej Street in Warsaw on Saturday morning.

Asked about the incident, a spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Reuters that the building housing the embassy school is owned by the Polish state.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Polish authorities stormed the embassy school’s land with the aim of seizing it.

“We consider this latest hostile act by the Polish authorities a flagrant violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and an encroachment on Russian diplomatic property in Poland,” the ministry said.

“Such an impudent step on the part of Warsaw, which goes beyond the framework of civilized relations between states, will not remain without reaction and harsh consequences for the Polish authorities and Polish interests in Russia,” the statement said.

Polish foreign ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina told Reuters Russia had the right to protest, but Poland was acting within the law.

“Our opinion, confirmed by the courts, is that these properties belong to the Polish state and have been illegally seized by Russia,” he said.

Sergey Andreev, Moscow’s ambassador to Poland, had earlier told Russian state news agencies that the building that houses the embassy school is a diplomatic building that the Polish authorities have no right to confiscate.

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Already fraught relations between the two countries were strained by the war in Ukraine, with Warsaw presenting itself as one of Kiev’s staunchest allies, playing a leading role in persuading allies to supply it with heavy weapons.

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

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

(Reuters report) Additional reporting by Alan Scharlich in Warsaw. Editing by Andrew Osborne

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