(Reuters) – Russia’s ambassador to Poland on Monday accused the Polish authorities of seizing Russian diplomatic property in Warsaw as the two countries’ already fraught relations have soured further over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Ambassador Sergey Andreev was referring to a decrepit Communist-era apartment building that Warsaw’s mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski, said would be used to house Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s military intervention in their country.
“This morning, bailiffs came to our diplomatic property at 100 Sobieskiego Street in Warsaw and ordered the transfer of the building to the Polish state treasury on behalf of Warsaw City Hall,” Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Andreev as saying.
“Polish representatives cut off the locks to the gate and…have essentially occupied the facility.”
Trzaskowski wrote on Twitter on Monday that the property, which used to house Soviet diplomats and is known to locals as Szpiegowo (“Spyville”), had officially been transferred to the city.
Poland’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Russian ambassador’s statement but said Monday that it welcomed the seizure of the property by the city of Warsaw and the planned transfer of the building to state ownership.
The Russian ambassador last month accused Poland of trying to destroy bilateral relations by expelling 45 of its diplomats and blocking the embassy’s bank accounts.
(Reporting by Reuters; additional reporting by Anna Koper in Warsaw; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)