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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poland Asked to Apologize

WARSAW -- Russia demanded an apology from Poland on Monday for the mugging of three children of Russian diplomats, casting a fresh shadow over relations between the former communist allies.

Three teenage sons of Russian diplomats were beaten and robbed in a Warsaw park late Sunday in an incident condemned by President Vladimir Putin as "an unfriendly act which cannot be characterized as anything other than a crime."

After Putin spoke Monday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Boris Malakhov said "the Russian side awaits an official apology."

Malakhov said Poland's ambassador to Russia was summoned to the Foreign Ministry and told Russia also demands a thorough investigation and guarantees of improved security.

"The ambassador was informed that this disgraceful incident in Warsaw cannot be seen as simply chance," Malakhov said in a statement.

"There is a clear correlation with anti-Russian attitudes planted in recent times in Poland, among them as a result of unfriendly statements by Polish politicians," Malakhov said. "The responsibility for the mounting situation in bilateral relations lies with the Polish authorities."

Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksander Checko stopped short of a formal apology, but said Poland "deeply regrets that something like this happened to our guests, the children of Russian diplomats working in Poland," and that authorities would "do everything to catch and punish the attackers."

"We expressed deep regrets that such an act of hooliganism and banditry took place, but we stress that we see no political or international context in it," Checko said. "It was a criminal incident."

A fourth boy, a school friend of the Russians from Kazakhstan, was also targeted in the attack, in which they were beaten and had their cell phones stolen, police said.