Attack on Poland’s Consulate General in Northwestern Ukraine seen as provocation

Polish consulate-general attacked in Lutsk overnight into March 29. Photo: volyn24.com 

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Overnight into March 29, Poland’s Consulate General in the northwestern Ukrainian city of Lutsk has been shelled with a grenade launcher, Volyn24 reported. There are no victims. Consul of Poland in Lutsk Krzysztof Sawicki said no diplomatic staff was in the building at the time of the attack, only the security guards.

At 00:30 EET the building was attacked with a grenade launcher, a projectile hit the roof of the consulate from the south direction, the explosion smashed a 70-centimeter hole in the roof. The consul said a man slept in the room and a tragedy could happen if the projectile would hit 20 cm down.

The Police found the rear cover of RPG-22 anti-tank grenade launcher, 112.UA reports. However, the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) says that the reason of explosion was a firing from RPG-26 grenade launcher according to preliminary data. The SBU and the police investigational groups are working on the scene of the crime. The investigators consider several options of the incident, including an act of terrorism.

The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Ambassador of Ukraine in Poland Andrii Deshchytsia, the Polish Embassy in Kyiv is going to send a protest note to the Ukrainian MFA.

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Consulate General of Poland in Lutsk, view from Hlushets street. Photo: Google StreetView

Consulate General of Poland in Lutsk, view from Hlushets street. Photo: Google StreetView

Attack on Poland's consulate general in Lutsk at 00:30 on March 29, 2017. Red arrow shows the direction of the attack. Map: Google Maps

An attack on Poland’s consulate general in Lutsk at 00:30 on March 29, 2017. The red arrow shows the direction of the attack. Map: Google Maps

The city of Lutsk is more than 900 km away from the frontline in Eastern Ukraine, some 100 km away from Poland, 130 km away from Belarus.

Statements

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has strongly condemned the attack:

Ukrainian minister for foreign affairs Pavlo Klimkin called the incident “the meanness of those who oppose the Ukrainian-Polish friendship“:

Translation: I am indignant by the armed provocation against the CG RP [Consulate General of the Republic of Poland] in Lutsk. The mean act of those opposed to the Ukrainian-Polish friendship. We are doing everything for those responsible to be punished.

Poland’s Consul in Lutsk Krzysztof Sawicki in his comment to Volyn24 has called the shooting a “terrorist act,” aimed at killing people.

Head of the BBN (Polish National Security Bureau) Paweł Soloch said, “Undoubtedly, this is a provocation. The question is: who and why? We know the context, it is the aggression of Russia against Ukraine,” Soloch doesn’t know whether the incident is connected with the Russian aggression, but he stresses, “However, there is an obvious provocation.”

Being asked if it can be the “third party” trying to worsen relations between Poland and Ukraine, Marshal of the Senate of Poland Stanisław Karczewski said, “This is my inner conviction.

A centrist Polish politician, former MEP Michał Kamiński (the Union of European Democrats) states:

I really do not rule out that here we are dealing simply with a Russian provocation. The Russians have already infiltrated the east [of Ukraine], it can be in the west too, the Russian agency is everywhere, all over the world; the problem of so-called Ukrainian ultranationalists and the Polish ultranationalists, as the evidence was recently published on the web, is that both Polish, Ukrainian ultranationalisms are often funded by Moscow.”

Cui bono?

The SBU says Russia benefits from such provocation:

The provocations against the Republic of Poland, which once in a while occur in Ukraine, are of benefit only to one party – the Russian Federation, its methods of operation can be seen from far off.

This is not the first provocative attack in Ukraine since the beginning the Russian-Ukrainian war, many acts of vandalism and terror occurred since 2014. However, only vandalism was used earlier against Poland-Ukraine relations, moreover, parallel attacks of vandalism took place in both Poland and Ukraine. Here are several latest incidents in Ukraine:

As vandalism failed they decided to use a grenade launcher.


 

Update 15:11:

  • The Polish embassy in Kyiv and consulates in Lutsk and Odesa are all closed today.
  • Polish MFA has released a statement on the shelling of Poland’s Consulate General in Lutsk:

We confirm the fact of an explosion at the Polish Consulate General in Lutsk on 29 March after midnight local time. The Polish Embassy in Kyiv promptly addressed an adequate diplomatic note to the MFA of Ukraine.

In connection with the event, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Poland Andrii Deshchytsia was summoned to the Polish MFA. The Ukrainian envoy in Poland was received by MFA Secretary of State Jan Dziedziczak.

During the meeting, Deputy Minister Dziedziczak registered deep concern and indignation over the shelling of the Polish Consulate General in Lutsk. The secretary of state strongly demanded that the Ukrainian side act decisively and immediately to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, as well as to ensure effective, 24/7 protection of the Polish diplomatic and consular posts accredited in Ukraine. As the Polish side emphasized, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations obligates the receiving state to take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on consular officers and their offices.

 At the same time, Deputy Minister Dziedziczak informed the ambassador that all Polish consular posts in Ukraine will remain closed until the above expectations of the Polish side are met. Despite the closure of consular posts, Polish consuls will continue to provide Polish nationals with the necessary assistance.


Update 15:46:

  • President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko had a phone conversation with President of Poland Andrzej Duda, the Presidential Administration reports.

Petro Poroshenko condemned brutal and cynical attack on the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Lutsk. “The Ukrainian authorities will act resolutely to prevent such provocations in the future,” he said.

The two leaders agreed that no provocations should affect the friendly nature of the Ukraine-Poland relations. The interlocutors agreed to continue contacts at the highest level.


 

Update 17:44:

  • There are some leads in a case of explosion in Polish consulate”, – Head of SBU Office in Volyn Oblast

In due course of priority operational investigative events in a case of explosion in the Consulate-General of the Republic of Poland in Lutsk there are some leads. The Head of SBU Office in Volyn region Yurii Feloniuk informed this during briefing. “For the benefit of the investigation, the details are keeping in secret”, – he added.

The Head of the SBU Office also informed that the criminal proceeding under Article 258 (act of terrorism) of the Criminal code of Ukraine was initiated.

“The incidents of vandalism and destruction of cultural treasure of Polish people in the territory of Ukraine have become more rapid. In these developments we trace the operation methods of the Russian Federation, directing to destabilization of interrelations between Ukraine and Poland. The law-enforcement bodies have been investigating all these facts”, – Feloniuk mentioned.


Update 19:43 The Polish Consulate General in Lutsk an hour ago:


Update 23:38 Two more provocations took place today, a fake “pro-Polish anti-Ukrainian” rally in Lviv Oblast and a prank call attempt to Polish president Andrzej Duda on behalf of Petro Poroshenko.


Update March 30, 11:05 Ukraine’s ambassador to Poland Deshchytsya sees Russian hand in attack on consulate in Lutsk

 

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