MINSK, 11 Mar – RIA Novosti. Belarus is expelling two employees of the Polish Consulate General in Grodno, the press service of the republic's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Earlier, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry invited the Polish consul in Brest Jerzy Timofeyuk to leave the country after his participation in an unofficial event dedicated to the “Day of the Damned Soldiers.” After that, Warsaw decided to expel the Belarusian diplomat as a retaliatory measure.
According to the Foreign Ministry, on March 11, Charge d'Affaires of Poland Martin Wojciechowski was summoned there.
“In connection with the excessive, asymmetric and destructive response of Poland to the legitimate and reasoned decision of Belarus in relation to the Consul of the Consulate General of Poland in Brest Jerzy Timofeyuk, as well as ignoring the relevant requests of the Belarusian side, on the basis of Articles 23 and 55 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to the Polish side the decision was made on the inexpediency of the presence on the territory of Belarus of the head and consul of the consulate general of Poland in Grodno, “the ministry said.
Diplomats must leave the country within 48 hours.
The statement stresses that Minsk considers it unacceptable to glorify war criminals and justify the genocide of the Belarusian people.
“Damned Soldiers” – members of anti-Soviet and anti-communist underground organizations in Poland in the late stages of World War II, as well as after its end. One of the “heroes” in whose honor this event is held is Romuald Rice, nicknamed “Brown” – a war criminal, guilty, in particular, of the mass murder of people on the basis of nationality and religion.
Rice was a soldier in the Home Army during World War II, and then created an illegal armed group. In the winter of 1946, “Bury” and his supporters made a campaign across the eastern territory of Poland. They burned several villages and killed 79 people, including women and children. In 1948, Rice was arrested on war crimes charges. The court acknowledged that the “Brown” detachment was killing people on the basis of nationality and religion – mainly Orthodox Belarusians. He was sentenced to death and hanged.