“I am happy to be able to show Warsaw’s help to our Ukrainian friends in a symbolic way,” Rafal Trzaskovsky told reporters at the scene.
The “Spy Nest” is a building built in the 70s in the southern part of the Polish capital. With 10 floors and dozens of apartments, it served as a diplomatic center for the Soviets before the Russian embassy used it.
The Mayor of Warsaw entered this center accompanied by an official and the Ukrainian ambassador to Poland. A Russian diplomat also protested this measure.
“We have recovered the so-called ‘spy nest’ and we want to give it to our Ukrainian guests,” explained Trzaskowski, using the facility’s name, which is called in Polish “Szpiegowo.”
Andrei Dechytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to Poland, said the center “will serve Ukraine and Ukrainians very soon.” “It could be a school, a daycare or apartments,” he told the press. “We want to do it legally, not like the Russians. We don’t want to occupy anything before your transfer is legal,” the ambassador added.
In disrepair and almost unused since the 1990s, this building is at the center of a legal dispute over its ownership between Russia and Poland.
The building was built following agreements signed in 1974 between Poland and the Soviet Union that allowed Moscow to acquire new real estate in Warsaw.
Under this agreement, the Kremlin was supposed to offer similar real estate in Moscow, which never happened.
In 2008, Warsaw canceled this agreement and demanded the return of the building, a measure approved by a Polish court in 2016, which also demanded compensation from Poland for the illegal occupation in the amount of 7.8 million zlotys (about 1.7 million euros).
But Russia has so far refused to comply with the court’s decision.
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