Poland ex-minister in Russia claim

Published: Tuesday 21st October 2014 by The News Editor

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Poland’s former foreign minister has come under fire over a US magazine interview in which he allegedly said Russia’s president offered Poland the opportunity to jointly carve up Ukraine in 2008.

Radek Sikorski, now the parliamentary speaker, was quoted as saying in Sunday’s issue of Politico Magazine that Russian president Vladimir Putin “wanted us to become participants in this partition of Ukraine”.

He said Mr Putin made the offer to then Polish prime minister Donald Tusk in Moscow in 2008.

Mr Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, described Mr Sikorski’s comments as false.

“First, we don’t know much about the work of this publication,” Mr Peskov told Russian news website Gazeta.ru. “In general, this information seems like a fable.”

In a news conference, Mr Sikorski was vague about whether he made those exact remarks to Politico Magazine and told journalists to refer to another interview he gave to a Polish media website. He said there that he did not hear Mr Putin’s words first-hand, but stressed that they were treated in 2008 as “surrealistic” or a joke.

Later in the day, he held a second news conference where he said his memory had failed him in the interview with Politico Magazine and that the bilateral meeting between Mr Tusk and Mr Putin did not take place in Moscow, as he said earlier, but at the Nato summit in Bucharest in April 2008.

Prime minister Ewa Kopacz, who is in the same party as Mr Sikorski, criticised him for dodging reporters’ questions on the issue at the first press conference.

Political opponents want him fired, saying there is no room in politics for what they called irresponsibility.

Ms Kopacz said she expected Mr Sikorski to directly answer reporters’ questions.

“I will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. I will not tolerate these kinds of standards that Speaker Sikorski tried to present at today’s (news) conference,” Ms Kopacz said.

Published: Tuesday 21st October 2014 by The News Editor

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