WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Acting on a Polish court verdict, Warsaw authorities Saturday took over a school building that was serving children of Russian diplomats and the military, drawing an angry reaction from Moscow.
Poland’s Foreign Ministry said it had asked Warsaw authorities to claim the property which, Poland says, should have been returned by Russia years ago.
“The bailiff’s execution is … in total agreement with the Foreign Ministry and based on a court order that gave the Polish state full ownership rights to the building which the Russian Embassy has had in its possession illegally for many years,” Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina said.
Police and a court official came to the building, which is far away from the Russian Embassy and isn’t part of diplomatic premises. They gave the Russian side until Saturday evening to hand the building over, which took place.
However, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Polish authorities “invaded” the school, saying it is at the Russian Embassy, called it a “blatant violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.”
“Such an impudent move by Warsaw, which goes beyond the framework of civilized interstate communication, will not remain without our harsh reaction and consequences for the Polish authorities and Poland’s interests in Russia,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Warsaw authorities said the building will be made available to the Warsaw school system, which is short of premises.
Ever since breaking away from Moscow’s communist-era dominance, Poland has been seeking to claim back a number of properties used by Russia.