Politics, Europe

Russia closes Polish consular agency in city of Smolensk

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signs decree with response measure to Polish actions

Elena Teslova  | 14.07.2023 - Update : 14.07.2023
Russia closes Polish consular agency in city of Smolensk


Russia on Friday closed Poland's consular agency in the western city of Smolensk.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree that said he accepted "the proposal of the Russian Foreign Ministry to close the consular agency of the Republic of Poland in Smolensk with a consular district including the territory of the Smolensk region."

According to an explanatory note, the decision to close the mission was taken as "a response to the unfriendly anti-Russian actions of the Polish government," including the seizure of Russian diplomatic property on Polish territory and a significant reduction in Russia's diplomatic presence in Poland.

"The decree of the Government of the Russian Federation approved as a retaliatory measure allows restoring the parity of the consular institutions of Russia in Poland and Poland in Russia," the decree said.

Consular agencies belong to consular institutions and are considered their lowest class.

Since Moscow launched its "special military operation" in Ukraine, Poland, one of Kyiv's major international supporters, has increased pressure on Russian diplomatic missions and companies, by seizing the assets of missions, as well as firms like Gazprom, Rosneft, and Novatek.

In March 2022, Warsaw blocked the accounts of the Russian Embassy, while on April 26 this year, the Polish attorney general ruled to confiscate the frozen funds.

In April last year, Polish authorities seized a building in Warsaw that was Russian diplomatic real estate, and the Ukrainian Embassy to Poland then said it may use it for its needs.

On May 9, 2022, when Russia celebrates its World War 2 victory, Russian Ambassador to Poland Sergey Andreev was attacked while trying to lay flowers at the war memorial cemetery of Soviet soldiers in Warsaw, and there was another attack in Gdansk on the Russian Consul-General Sergey Semenov, who came to lay a wreath at a local cemetery of Soviet soldiers.

In November last year, the Polish authorities seized a Russian Embassy recreational center located on the outskirts of Warsaw.

On April 29, 2023, Polish police raided a school of the Russian Embassy in Warsaw, blocking the exits, and gave people several hours to leave the premises. The Russian side then was blocked from entry to the territory.

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