Riders from a Russian nationalist motorcycle group have begun their run commemorating the Red Army's offensive against Nazi Germany, despite Poland's announcement that it would refuse to let them in the country.

About 20 bikers including members of the Night Wolves group set off from Moscow Saturday, with the aim of crossing into Poland before eventually reaching Berlin on May 9. Poland, alarmed by the aggressive nationalism of the Night Wolves, on Friday said it wouldn't allow them entry.

The bikers had planned to cross en masse at the border near Brest in Belarus. After the Polish announcement, Night Wolves leader Alexander Zaldostanov said the bikers could try to circumvent the ban by crossing individually at several points.