Russia Blames 'Fans of Neo-Nazism' for Paint Attack on Ambassador

Russia said it knows in general who is responsible for Monday's attack on its ambassador to Poland.

"Fans of neo-Nazism" are to blame for red paint being thrown upon Sergey Andreev at a wreath-laying ceremony, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. The spokeswoman went on social media to address the attack and said it shows that Western nations support a revival of Nazism, according to Tass, the Russian government news agency.

"The fans of neo-Nazism have once again shown their true face, all covered in blood. The demolition of monuments to World War II heroes, the desecration of graves, and now, the disruption of a flower-laying ceremony on a day that is sacred for every decent person, confirm what is already clear: the West has set a course to revive Nazism," Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram, according to Tass.

Andreev and others standing nearby were doused in red paint as he was attempting to lay a wreath at a cemetery for Soviet Union soldiers as part of a ceremony on Russia's Victory Day. The annual event on May 9 commemorates Russia's defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 and the end of World War II in Europe. Videos showed Andreev's face covered in red paint, but he did not suffer serious injuries, Tass said.

Russian ambassador to Poland
The Russian Foreign Ministry says "fans of neo-Nazism" are to blame for Monday's attack on the Russian ambassador to Poland. Above, Ambassador Sergey Andreev after paint was thrown on his face in Warsaw. WOJTEK RADWANSKI/Getty Images

The attack on the Russian ambassador comes as the fighting in Ukraine shows no signs of ending more than two months after Russia invaded the country in late February.

Zakharova, in her response to the incident with the ambassador, seemed to be keeping in line with Victory Day remarks made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also mentioned Nazis as well as the need to protect Russia from what he considers the threat they pose. Putin has previously said Russia's military action in Ukraine was taken to denazify the country.

"It was a threat we couldn't accept, it was a threat directly to our border. Everything showed that we are dealing with Nazis and we have to do something about it," Putin said.

It was thought Putin might use his Victory Day speech to officially declare war on Ukraine, but he did not. Speaking in Moscow's Red Square before a military parade, he said the Russian invasion of Ukraine was justified, according to CNBC.

Putin added that countries in the West were already "preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea," and said the conflict in Ukraine was necessary for his country's security.

"Defending the motherland when its fate is being decided has always been sacred. Today you are fighting for our people in Donbas, for the security of Russia, our homeland," Putin said. The embattled Donbas region in eastern Ukraine contains two territories, Donetsk and Luhansk, occupied by pro-Russian separatists.

Zakharova, in her statement about Monday morning's attack on the ambassador, said that those who are looking to scare or intimidate Russia would fail. Instead, she warned, "it is European residents that should be scared of looking into the mirror," according to Tass.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian and Polish foreign ministries for comment.