Poland has reacted adequately to Putin’s words – President Duda

2020-01-06 07:17 update: 2020-01-07, 19:11
Andrzej Duda Photo PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik
Andrzej Duda Photo PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik
President Andrzej Duda said on Sunday that Poland reacted adequately to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words trying to burden the country with co-responsibility for the outbreak of World War II.

"We read it (…) as a provocation quite simply directed at us, especially before these solemn ceremonies (of the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation – PAP) and we therefore decided that any extreme reaction would only cause an argument that would lead to unpredictable consequences,” the president told the public TV broadcaster TVP Info.

He added that "since President Putin made the decision to speak in such a drastic way, it means that he had his purpose - there are no random statements here "- Duda said.

The president pointed out that Poland was not provoked by Russia. "International public opinion has reacted very well. There were many voices from around the world condemning this statement, denying those comments," he said.

"We responded in a very subdued and balanced way - that was our decision. We decided to intervene through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Russian ambassador. The next step towards Russian responses was the prime minister's statement," he added.

At a December 20 sitting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Putin said the immediate cause of World War Two was not the August 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union but the 1938 Munich Pact, which secured the cession to Germany of Czechoslovakia's Sudeten German territory and which Poland attempted to use to secure its claims to the Zaolzie region, over which it was in dispute with Czechoslovakia.

Referring to the Soviets' September 22, 1939, takeover of Brest in then eastern Poland (today's Belarus) from the Germans, who had captured the city several days earlier, Putin stressed that did not mean the Soviets had taken it from Poland, as at the time they were not fighting against Poland, which had lost control of the area. He also observed that the Red Army's entry into the region probably helped save many local lives, especially of Jews, who would have otherwise been exterminated by the Germans.

"At that time the Polish government had lost control of those territories, so there was nobody to negotiate with. The Soviet Union did not actually take anything away from Poland," Putin said.

He also accused Poland's pre-war government of hedging ties to Nazi Germany, by which they "exposed their people, the Polish people, to the German war machine and contributed to the outbreak of World War Two."

In his response to Putin's words, Morawiecki accused the Russian leader of deliberately spreading lies about Poland, and observed that this was typical of Moscow when it felt itself under international pressure.

"President Putin has repeatedly lied about Poland. And he has always done it consciously. "It usually happens when the authorities in Moscow feel international pressure caused by their activities. And this pressure is not on the historical stage but on the modern geopolitical scene," Morawiecki underlined in a statement published on Twitter, among others, on Sunday.

In this context Morawiecki reminded that Russia suffered several serious setbacks in recent weeks, most notably the failure to subordinate Belarus, the further extension of EU sanctions imposed after Moscow's illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, and the imposition of US restrictions hampering the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 project.

"The Russian leader is perfectly aware of the fact that his charges have nothing in common with the truth," Morawiecki wrote. (PAP)