Polish NGOs stage mock vote on annexing Russian embassy

Published: 12:29 AM, 16 Oct, 2022
Polish NGOs stage mock vote on annexing Russian embassy
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Hundreds of people turned out Saturday to take part in a mock referendum on whether Poland should annex Russia's embassy in Warsaw, part of a protest organised by several campaigning groups.

"Annexations are in this season," the organisers said in a statement, referring to Moscow's recent claim to have annexed four Ukrainian regions following referendums dismissed as a "sham" by the West.

"We decided to go down that road and organise a referendum on the annexation of the Russian embassy... in Warsaw."

The NGOS also referred to a viral social media joke proposing that Czechs seize the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Brandishing the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag and placards notably reading "Terrorussia" and "Hands off Ukraine", some 3,000 people, according to organisers, attended the mock referendum in Warsaw.

The queue to cast a vote extended down the street housing the palatial Russian embassy, in front of which the ballot box had been placed.

The ballot asked whether Poland should annex the Russian embassy and provided three voting options -- all of them "Yes".

"This is a much more democratic idea than those referendums on Ukrainian territory that were held under guns and missiles," Mariia Volkolup, a 33-year-old Ukrainian lawyer in Warsaw, told AFP.

The rally organisers proposed alternative uses for the embassy building, including refugee accommodation, a cultural centre, a zoo and even public toilets.

Grigorij, 46, a Russian who left Moscow in August, said he attended the rally to show his support for Ukraine.

"I condemn this war waged by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, and I want to say that not all Russians support it," he told AFP. He said he had moved to Warsaw because he felt complicit in the war by remaining in Russia.

The event organisers said they would send an open letter to Poland's leaders calling on them to expel the Russian ambassador.

The event was organised by a loose alliance of groups supporting women, Ukraine, democracy and human rights.

Categories : World

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.