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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A Polish biker said Thursday that at least one member of a nationalistic Russian motorcycle club appears to have entered Poland despite a ban, and visited the Auschwitz memorial site with two other Russians — one of whom briefly unfurled a Soviet flag.
The pro-Kremlin Night Wolves, who are on a ride commemorating the Russian and Allied defeat of Nazi Germany 70 years ago, were denied entry into Poland on Monday amid tension between Warsaw and Moscow over Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict. Poland said the ride was a provocation.
The group was planning to visit the Auschwitz memorial site and military cemeteries in Poland on the ride to Berlin. After the ban, some Polish bikers said they would make the stops for them.
One of the Poles, Miroslaw Wenglorz, said that three Russian bikers visited Auschwitz on Wednesday and one of them claimed he belonged to the Night Wolves, but wasn't wearing any of the group's emblems. He came on a bike with Czech plates, and said he had flown into Prague.
A tense moment occurred when another Russian unfurled the Soviet flag in the memorial's parking lot, but he put it away when he was asked to do so. It is illegal in Poland to display emblems of the Soviet Union, considered a criminal regime.
In Moscow, the Night Wolves club said some members entered Poland and other EU countries individually by plane, train and bus and planned to join together later to continue the ride.
"We haven't given up on our idea of celebrating Victory Day over fascism on May 9 in Berlin. We're simply adjusting our plans," said group member Vitaly Kuznetsov.
"We are very disappointed in how we are being greeted by the countries of Europe that we liberated from fascism," he added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has demanded that Poland explain the ban.
The Night Wolves are closely allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin and are vehement supporters of Russia's annexation of Crimea.
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