Poland has decided to send a protest note to the Russian government after it removed its flag from the Katyn cemetery, which was in remembrance of Polish military officers killed by Soviet forces in 1940, stated the Polish government on Monday, 27 June.
More than 22,000 officers, as well as intellectuals, were brutally killed in Katyn, near Smolensk in western Russia, and several were trucked in from prison camps, shot directly in the head from behind and pushed into mass graves.
After putting the blame on Nazi Germany for these deaths for many years, in April 1990, the Soviet Union confessed that its forces were responsible for the Katyn massacre, with the killings causing barriers to relations between Poland and Russia.
Dead bodies of over 4,000 Polish prisoners of war were buried in the cemetery, which is managed by the Russian authorities.
On Friday, 24 June, Smolensk mayor Andrei Borisov posted a picture of two masts, one with the Russian flag and one empty with a ladder tilting against it, stating that the Polish flag had been removed.
Borisov wrote, “There can be no Polish flags on Russian memorials. I think that the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation made the only right decision to remove the Polish flag. Katyn is a Russian memorial, and it is Russian history.”
This move will further deteriorate the relations between both nations after Poland’s leading role in opposing the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Marcin Przydacz, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister, stated on Monday that a diplomatic letter is being written that is to be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He further added that they would try to interfere on the political level, but he does not have excessive optimism regarding the actions on the Russian side. The Russians are rather aggressive in foreign policy.
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry has not yet responded to the same.