Polish officials refused to allow Russian President Vladimir Putin’s biker gang the Night Wolves to enter the country. The gang is currently on their “victory ride” to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
“These people will not cross into Poland,” said Polish border guard spokesman Dariusz Sienicki. “Each of them will receive a separate refusal.”
Around 15 bikers made it between Brest, Belarus and Terespol, Poland, “with five of them saying they had no visas for Poland but were there to wave off their friends.” Belarusan guards allowed the ten with visas to continue, but the Polish guards sent them away.
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The gang announced the ride a few weeks ago. The trip is almost 3,750 miles and will pass through Poland, Czech Republic, and Austria. Polish authorities lashed out at the journey.
“I consider the announcement of this rally a provocation,” said Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz on TOK FM radio station. “If this is to undermine our security, cause Poles trouble, then the law is there for us to use it.”
The gang claims they simply want “to commemorate the defeat of German fascism by the Red Army.” However, the victory also placed Poland for decades behind the Soviet Iron Curtain.
“They should not be let in to Poland,” said activist Marcin Rey. “If they are, they will have a very hard time. They are not welcome. [Night Wolves leader Alexander “The Surgeon”] Zaldostanov says Russia has liberated Poland. In Poland, we do not consider the Red Army to have liberated us. Nazi Germany and communist USSR were allies from 1939 until 1941 and attacked Poland simultaneously.”
Zaldostanov is very close friends with Putin, who even rode with them in August 2011. Their relationship is so close that the United States and Canada placed Zaldostanov under sanctions due to Putin’s war in Ukraine. In March, members of the gang appeared in east Ukraine to lend a hand to the pro-Russian rebels and Russian soldiers.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry is furious with the Polish authorities. They claim the government is lying when they claim they received “late and insufficient information” to provide the proper visas for the ride. The Russians also insist the denial and refusal are “politically motivated.” The officials demand answers from the Polish government. Sergey Andreev, the Russian Ambassador to Poland, told Russian outlets he “handed over detailed information on the route and itinerary of the Russian bikers to the Polish authorities numerous times.
However, the Poles contend they did not receive all the required information.
“[The note was sent] without details on the route, accommodation, list of participants and their itinerary while in Poland,” maintained Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski.
The German government also announced their border guards will stop the Night Wolves if they attempt to enter the country. They will even block the riders who possess the proper visas.
“The border guards are aware that there might be people with visas that are valid but have actually been annulled,” proclaimed German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer. “There is a legal administrative procedure in which visas already issued can be annulled so it would be possible to deny entry to people who are carrying visas.”