Poland bans ‘provocative’ Russian bikers loyal to Putin

Poland on Friday said it had denied entry to a Russian biker gang backed by the Kremlin that plans to ride through Europe to celebrate the Soviet Union’s role in the World War II victory over Nazi Germany. The planned two-week, 6,000-kilometre (3,728-mile) rally by Russian bikers including the Night Wolves – a fiercely nationalistic motorcycle club backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin – had sparked anger in Poland. But the announcement by Warsaw that the bikers could not be allowed into the country led to a furious reaction from Russia, which slammed what it said smacked of a “political” decision.

The entry was refused due to the lack of required precise information about the schedule of the group’s stay in Poland, its exact routes through the country, and accommodation of club members.

Poland’s foreign ministry said in a statement

The bikers planned to pass through Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria before arriving in Berlin on May 9 for the 70th anniversary of the war’s end. Poland’s foreign ministry said in a statement on its website that it had informed the Russian embassy in Warsaw of its “refusal to grant entry into Poland to an organised biker group that included members of the Night Wolves club”. Russia’s foreign ministry however said the official reason given was nothing but an “outward lie.” In a statement, the ministry said it was “indignant about the refusal of Polish authorities” to assist with the necessary permits for the “memorial action.”