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Poland says demolition of Soviet-era monuments in no conflict with agreement with Russia

April 01, 2016, 16:28 UTC+3 WARSAW

"Cemeteries and burial grounds of Soviet and Russian soldiers in Poland are under due care of the state," the Polish Foreign Ministry statement says

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© AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski

WARSAW, April 1. /TASS/. Demolition of Soviet-era monuments other than war cemeteries is not a violation of Poland’s agreement with Russia and is in sole competence of local authorities, the Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

"Cemeteries and burial grounds of Soviet and Russian soldiers in Poland are under due care of the state," the document says. "This is not a war on monuments."

The statement mentions "more than 2,000 such burial grounds and the funds Poland has been spending on their maintenance and repair in the recent years."

The Polish foreign ministry cited an agreement with Russia on protection of monuments, cemeteries and war graves dated February 22, 1994. According to the ministry, other monuments that have no military burials are not symbolic but can be seen as symbols of Soviet domination. There are several hundreds of such monuments in Poland. Such monuments "are located outside the boundaries of cemeteries," the statement says. "Under the Polish laws, such monuments are in the competence of the local authorities and their activities, such as maintenance, demolition or removal to museums, are in compliance with the Polish laws and in no conflict with the 1994 agreement."

On Thursday, Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance announced plans to demolish more than 500 Soviet monuments in the Polish territory. Commenting on these plans, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow will not leave it without response if these monuments are demolished.

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