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Polish ambassador summoned to Russian Foreign Ministry over dismantlement of Soviet statue

September 17, 2015, 14:31 UTC+3
General Chernyakhovsky, commanding the 3rd Belorusian Front, was fatally wounded in February 1945 on the outskirts of the East Prussian town of Mehlsack (now Pieniezno)
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© Gennady Khamiliyanin/TASS Archive

MOSCOW, September 17./TASS/. Polish Ambassador to Russia Katarzyna Pelczynska-Nalecz is summoned by the Russian Foreign Ministry over dismantlement of the statue of Soviet General Ivan Chernyakhovsky in the Polish city of Pieniezno, the ministry’s press service told TASS.

The ambassador is summoned to the ministry’s central building at 16:30, Moscow time, on Thursday, it said. Earlier, city Mayor Kazimierz Keijdo said the local authorities had already started work to pull down the statue.

He said the monument would first go to a storage facility and then would be handed over to the Russian side. "The authorities of the [Russian] Kursk region have already appealed to us," he said. "These documents have been relayed to the Foreign Ministry that will negotiate with the Russian side the terms under which this could be done," the city mayor said.

Discussion on statue dismantlement has continued since January 2014. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly expressed its outrage by the ruling on the pulldown. "We resolutely demand from the Polish leadership and from the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites that supervises the issue to prevent dismantlement of the monument to Ivan Chernyakhovsky," it said.

The ministry urged "unconditional compliance with the agreement between the Russian and Polish governments on burial places and memorial places for victims of wars and repressions of February 22, 1994, as well the treaty between Russia and Poland on friendly and good-neighborly cooperation of May 22, 1992," it said in the statement.

Early in August, the mayor said Pieniezno authorities had started collecting donations to fund demolishing the statue of Soviet Army General Ivan Chernyakhovsky, youngest front commander during World War II.

General Chernyakhovsky, commanding the 3rd Belorusian Front, was fatally wounded in February 1945 in the outskirts of the East Prussian town of Mehlsack (now Pieniezno). He was buried in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, and reburied in Moscow in 1992.

The monument was unveiled in the early 1970s.

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