Skip to content

Moscow removes Polish flag from Soviet massacre memorial

  • by
  • blog
  • 2 min read

Russian authorities have removed a Polish flag from a memorial commemorating the thousands of Poles killed by the Soviet Union, amid heightened tensions between Moscow and Warsaw over the Ukraine conflict.

Advertisements

Historians and visitors to the Katyn memorial in western Russia’s Smolensk region noted the flag’s disappearance on social media on Friday.

Advertisements

The mayor of Smolensk city confirmed the removal on Friday evening, publishing a photo showing the Russian flag flying alone at the memorial’s entrance.

Advertisements

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Advertisements

“There cannot be Polish flags on Russian monuments. Even less so after the frankly anti-Russian comments by Polish political leaders,” Andrei Borisov said on social media platform VKontakte.

Advertisements

“The culture ministry of the Russian Federation made the right decision by removing the Polish flag. Katyn is a Russian memorial.”

Advertisements

The decision to take down the flag comes as tensions between Russia and Poland have spiked since Moscow launched its military operation in neighboring Ukraine in February.

Advertisements

Poland, a member of NATO and the European Union, has vocally supported Ukraine diplomatically and by supplying it with weapons.

Advertisements

The country has also hosted by far the largest number of Ukrainian refugees within the bloc – more than 1.1 million according to the latest UN figures.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The Katyn memorial was erected in memory of the 25,000 Poles, mostly army officers deemed anti-communist, massacred by the Soviet Union’s political police in a forest near Smolensk in 1940 on the orders of Joseph Stalin.

Advertisements

The Soviet Union had long denied responsibility for the killings, accusing the Nazis of the crime, before admitting the truth in 1990.

Advertisements

The episode poisoned relations between Russia and Poland.

Advertisements

In 2010, a Smolensk-bound plane carrying the Polish president crashed, killing its 96 passengers. The investigation into the incident became another source of tension after the countries tried to improve their ties.

Advertisements

Read more:

Advertisements

Dozens of Russian missiles rain down on military sites across Ukraine

Advertisements

Russia says will respond to NATO buildup in Poland

Advertisements

Moscow blames US for Lithuanian ban on goods crossing from Kaliningrad

Advertisements
Advertisements

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *