Poland Says WWII Grave Destroyed By Russian Ally Belarus | Russo-Ukrainian War

The Polish Foreign Ministry accuses Minsk of having razed a memorial containing the remains of anti-communist soldiers.

The Polish government has accused authorities in neighboring Belarus of razing a memorial site containing the graves of Polish resistance fighters who died fighting Soviet soldiers in World War II.

Lukasz Jasina, spokesman for the Polish Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday that the cemetery in Surkonty, Belarus, was “devastated by the services of the Minsk regime”.

“Those who think that the human memory of heroes can be eradicated are greatly mistaken. The regime will pay for these acts of barbarism,” Jasina wrote on Twitter, referring to the graves of members of Poland’s largest wartime resistance force, the Home Army, who fought against the troops of the army. Soviet army in 1944.

The allegations – based on reports from the Polish minority in Belarus – came a day after Warsaw said it was demolishing a monument to Soviet Red Army soldiers in southwestern Poland. The site was one of dozens marked for destruction since Russia invaded Ukraine six months ago, but no soldiers were buried there.

There was no immediate comment from Minsk, a key Moscow ally, and it was unclear whether the developments were linked.

The Home Army was under the command of a Polish government-in-exile based in London during the occupation of the country by Nazi and Soviet forces.

During the decades of Moscow-backed communist rule, Poles were prohibited from publicly honoring the memory of Polish victims of the Soviet Union or those who fought against the regime.

Belarus has destroyed two Polish war cemeteries since early July. Minsk has also taken tough action against the Polish minority, arresting its leaders, since Poland backed the opposition against President Alexander Lukashenko and joined international sanctions against Belarus for its role in the Russian War against Ukraine.

Poland was invaded and occupied by Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II, then spent decades under Moscow-backed rule. Since the end of communism in the country more than three decades ago, steps have been taken to remove communist symbols from public spaces.

While efforts to remove remaining Soviet memorials intensified after Russia invaded Ukraine, cemeteries with the graves of Red Army soldiers remained undisturbed in Poland.

Ukraine has also stepped up “de-Russification effortsin a symbolic attempt to break its shared history with Russia.

The Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia, where large Russian-speaking minorities sometimes live at odds with national governments, have also removed soviet era statues despite the tensions.

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