Polish bikers to escort Russians’ WWII ride through Poland

April 21, 2015 GMT

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The leader of a Polish bikers’ group says its members will greet and accompany a group of Russian bikers to ensure their ride through Poland is peaceful and safe.

Some 30 Russian bikers, including a nationalist group loyal to President Vladimir Putin, plan to retrace the path that Red Army soldiers took across eastern Europe to Berlin as they fought Nazi troops to end World War II.

Many Poles consider the ride a “provocation,” given Poland’s strained ties with Russia over its role in eastern Ukraine.

But Marian Wegrzyn, leader of Bikers’ International Katyn Rally, said Tuesday the ride is purely commemorative and his group will welcome the Russians at the border Monday and will travel with them to make sure that the rising emotions don’t mar their passage.