Poland expels Belarusian diplomat

Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said the decision of Belarusian authorities "in no way served the interests of the Belarusian state," and could have a negative effect on relations between both countries. Leszek Szymański/PAP

Poland has declared a Belarusian diplomat in Warsaw a persona non grata in retaliation for the expulsion of Poland's consul in Brest from Belarus.

On Tuesday, the Belarusian foreign ministry expelled Jerzy Timofiejuk, Poland's consul in Brest, due to his participation in a commemoration of Poland's Cursed Soldiers on February 28. The ceremony was devoted to the memory of Poland's post-World War Two "cursed soldiers," who operated mainly in northern, eastern and southeastern Poland as partisan units fighting the country's new communist government.

Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said the decision of Belarusian authorities "in no way served the interests of the Belarusian state," and could have a negative effect on relations between both countries.

He added that, in retaliation, Poland had expelled a Belarusian diplomat from the Belarusian embassy in Warsaw.

Przydacz said that Timofiejuk's expulsion was a move made to distract attention from the human rights violations of the Belarusian government and appealed to Minsk to free all its political prisoners and to restore respect for civil rights.