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Vandal desecrating Soviet war memorial in Poland faces criminal charges

December 28, 2015, 17:31 UTC+3 WARSAW

The man could face up to five years in prison

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© Yury Belinsky/TASS

WARSAW, December 28. /TASS/. The Polish Prosecutor’s Office has brought charges against a 37-year-old resident of Kalisz, who smashed gravestones at a cemetery of Soviet military, who in 1945 fought for the liberation of Poland from Nazi forces, Deputy District Prosecutor in Ostrow Wielikopolski, Janusz Walczak, told TASS on Monday.

He said the man was charged with "intentional desecration of a burial site of a Soviet soldier on December 20, destruction of 11 gravestones from December 16 to 19, as well as an attack on a police officer". According to Walczak, the vandal could face up to five years in prison. The court trial is expected to begin in several weeks.

News about the incident at a Soviet military cemetery, where more than 300 Red Army soldiers are buried, came on December 21. This is not the first such incident. In a previous development, a 67-year-old man was detained in February 2015 after smashing 18 tombstones.

"We regard such actions as a direct result of Poland’s official campaign for revising the role of the Soviet Union as the liberator in World War II," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said last week.

She called for remembering "not ideology but individual people."

"It is about the memory of specific people who have their lives for letting many Poles enjoy the happiness of being many decades after," Zakharova said.

"A strong protest has been lodged over yet another instance of anti-Russian vandalism," Zakharova said. "This protest has been convoyed to the Polish authorities. We are expecting a formal reaction and prompt action to restore the tombstones and prevent such barbaric incidents in the future," she added.

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