Polish Consulate in Lutsk attacked

Piotr Andrusieczko

Overnight into March 29, unknown culprits shelled Poland’s Consulate General in Lutsk with a grenade launcher. There were no casualties. Ukraine’s Security Service has deemed it to be an act of terrorism. 

Polish Consulate was attacked with a grenade launcher from a nearby road. The projectile made a hole in the roof and broke a window. The culprits haven’t been found. Accourding to the representatives of the police and SBU in Lutsk, the area around the Consulate was only being patrolled during daytime. Reportedly it was Poland that decided not to use Ukrainian police’s night-time protection, declaring that it’s able to secure the Consulate on its own.

Everything must have happened in an instant. An easy to use disposable grenade launcher that doesn’t require preparations to be fired was used. It can be said that it’s an immediate-use weapon. – Simply remove the plugs, extend the structure, set the simple aiming instruments and the weapon is ready to be used.

Judging by the remains of the missile, it was probably RPG-22 or its successor RPG-26. Both models are used by the Russian and Ukrainian armies. Grenade launchers of this type are widely used in the war in the east of Ukraine.

Consul General in Lutsk, Krzysztof Sawicki, called the incident an act of terror. SBU classified the attack the same way.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin expressed indignation at the attack of the consulate. In his opinion, it was a provocation aimed at the friendship with Poland. The minister promised to punish those guilty for the attack.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also expressed his indignation and ordered the law enforcement authorities to immediately use all available means to help explain this incident and identify the culprits.

President Andrzej Duda stressed that the attack on the Polish diplomatic mission requires a definite reaction. In a telephone conversation, Petro Poroshenko assured the Polish president that “the Ukrainian authorities will work decisively in the future to avoid similar provocations”. At the same time, the Ukrainian president proposed for the inclusion of Polish experts in the operational-investigative group that deals with this incident.
Both presidents agreed that the provocation in Lutsk should not affect friendly relations between Poland and Ukraine.

Many commentators immediately pointed to Russia as a potential attacker. Andrii Deshchytsia, Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland, said that there is no doubt that Russia is behind the firing.
-Sides which are not interested in good Polish-Ukrainian relations are behind the attack. It is Russia without a doubt – ambassador Deshchytsia told Polish journalists on Wednesday in the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw.

There are also other versions. One of the well-known Ukrainian journalists, Oleksandr Myhelson, pointed out that the Ukrainian media, not waiting for the results of the investigation, generally speak of Russian provocation. However, he believes it is also possible that the attack was the result of polonophobia. Due to the deteriorating Polish-Ukrainian relations, it is quite probable that a likely shooter was a person who considers himself a patriot and is anti-Polish. Especially since, as the author points out: “As a result of the war, the country is full of grenade launchers and unstable people”.

Due to many contradictory suspicions and opinions, it is worth refraining from accusations until the first results of the investigation.
Meanwhile, all Polish consulates in Ukraine were closed indefinitely. This means problems for many Ukrainians applying for visas. Last year Polish consulates issued 560,000 visas to Ukrainian citizens.

Since the beginning of 2017, there have been several incidents aimed at Polish-Ukrainian relations. First, unknown perpetrators destroyed a monument to Polish victims of Ukrainian nationalists in Huta Pieniecka. Then the Polish and Ukrainian cemetery in Bykivnia was desecrated. And on the night of February 8th the Polish consulate in Lviv was vandalized with paint. Perpetrators of these events still haven’t been found.

Distpach is traditional reporting form - we enhance using new technologies and journalism trends. Each article besides it's text contains additional contextual information. Special anotations are created by reporters which will allow you to better understand issues we cover.

Learn more by clicking on the yellow highlights.