Poland says grave with WWII soldiers is destroyed by Belarus

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's government alleged Thursday that authorities in Belarus were leveling a memorial site containing the graves of Polish soldiers who died during World War II.

Lukasz Jasina, the spokesman for Poland's Foreign Ministry, said on Twitter that a cemetery in Surkonty, Belarus, where members of Poland's largest wartime resistance force battled Soviet army troops, was being “devastated by the services of the Minsk regime.”

“Those who think that the human memory of heroes can be eradicated are very mistaken. The regime will pay for these acts of barbarism," Jasina wrote.

The allegation came a day after the Polish government said it was demolishing a monument to Soviet Red Army soldiers in Poland, one of dozens marked for destruction since Russia's invasion of Ukraine six months ago.

There was no immediate comment from Belarus, and it was not clear if the developments were related. Belarus has destroyed other Polish memorial sites in the past.

Poland, like many of its neighbors, was invaded and occupied by Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II and then spent decades under Moscow-backed rule. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, there was an effort to remove hated communist symbols from public spaces in Poland.

However, cemeteries with the graves of Red Army soldiers are not disturbed in Poland.

The cemetery in Belarus is the final resting place of soldiers with Poland's Home Army, a resistance force that also fought the occupying German forces throughout World War II. The Home Army was under the command of a Polish government-in-exile that was based in London during the country's occupation by Nazi and Soviet forces.

The Associated Press