Poland 'regrets' Independence Day violence at Russian Embassy

People hold burning flares as they march through the the centre of Warsaw, Poland on Monday,  November 11.

Story highlights

  • Poland expresses regret after rioters attack Russian Embassy in Warsaw
  • Police say participants in an Independence Day march set a guard booth on fire
  • Russian media say protesters threw fireworks at Polish Embassy in apparent retaliation
  • Poland declared independence on November 11, 1918, at the end of World War I

Poland has expressed "deep regret" after rioters attacked Russia's embassy in Warsaw during Independence Day celebrations on November 11.

The public holiday marks Poland's declaration of independence in 1918 after World War I, following more than 120 years of rule by Russia, Prussia and Austria. It fell under Soviet control after World War II until the Communist government was forced out 1989.

Warsaw police said participants in a nationalist "Independence March" set alight a guard station at the embassy and tried to storm its gates.

Marchers threw stones and fireworks at police trying to restore calm in the city, and 12 officers needed hospital treatment, police said. A total of 72 people were arrested in connection with the unrest, among them three suspected of involvement in the embassy incident.

Russia said its embassy had been attacked by "hooligans" who had pelted the mission with "flares, bottles and stones." In a statement, it accused Polish authorities of allowing the march to take place without adequate security.

In posts on Twitter, Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Kremlin had summoned the Polish ambassador over the riots and given him a protest note saying the Vienna convention had been violated, after the Russian Embassy in Warsaw "had been blocked for hours."

Warsaw police earlier said they had deployed 3,000 officers for Independence Day.

Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed "deep regret over the violent behavior and incidents that occurred near the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Warsaw."

It blamed the incident on Independence March participants, including the All-Polish Youth and the National Radical Camp.

"Such behavior directed at a diplomatic mission should be strongly condemned and is incompatible with 11 November Independence Day celebrations," it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, three people were arrested in Russia after throwing smoke bombs and fireworks at Poland's embassy in Moscow in apparent retaliation for the Warsaw attack, according to state-run news agency RIA Novosti.