Russian biker group Night Wolves have set on road to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Red Army route despite Poland refusing entry through its borders.
Including members of the group backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, 20 bikers started their journey in Moscow on April 25 and planned to ride through Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic Slovakia and Austria to reach Berlin on May 9 to attend memorial services.
However, Poland has declared that the crossing of the group may be refused as the Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz has said that she sees the organized run as a “provocation.”
The relationship between Poland and Russia agitated after Poland was one of the most outspoken critics of the Russian policy towards a pro-Russian separatist rebellion fighting for independence in Eastern Ukraine, joining Western allies in accusing Moscow of supplying help to the insurrection.
Therefore, Poland has found itself on the NATO frontline as Eastern Europe increases its preparation for a possible Russian invasion. Poland is now planning to purchase Raytheon Co’s Patriot missiles from the United Stated and has plans in increasing its defence expenditure to $9.9 billion this year.
Also earlier this year the Polish Ministry of Defence announced that Poland will train around 50 Ukrainian army instructors this year to increase Ukraine’s defence against the pro-Russian rebellion in the east.
Despite the inevitable tension between the two countries Night Wolves leader Alexander Zaldostanov said they are sticking to their plans and will try to cross the border near Brest in Belarus.
The Putin-backed group aims to complete its ride through Europe to celebrate the 70th year anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany surrendering to the Soviet’s in World War II.
Zaldostanov has vowed to complete the route even if the group has to separate and cross from various paths.
“If they don’t let us in as a motorcycle column, we’ll go individually, from various points. We’ll go by a different crossing. But, for sure, we’re not abandoning our attempt and we’ll go on our complete route,” Zaldostanov was quoted saying by the state news agency RIA Novosti.
Further information has not been provided if the group can cross the Polish border, however Prime Minister Kopacz said, “If this is to undermine our security, cause Poles trouble, then the law is there for us to use it,” and also added that the Polish customs officials will decide on who can cross the border.
The Night Wolves biker group was established in 1989 and has around 5,000 members. The group is well known for its close ties with the Russian President Putin who has appeared at a number of the groups rallies and has been Russia’s number one vocal supporter of its policies in Ukraine.