- Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Friday that Poland is trying to seize western Ukraine.
- “The possibility is clearly there,” he said in comments to his Security Council.
- Russia often deflects its own invasion by claiming that Poland has its own imperial ambitions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who last year ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine following the earlier and illegal annexation of Crimea, warned on Friday that Ukraine could be invaded and occupied — by Poland.
In a video address to his national security council, the Russian leader claimed that increased military cooperation between Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania since the Russian invasion could give Warsaw an opportunity to resolve historical disputes and make its own claim on Ukrainian territory.
Under the guise of a friendly “military union” and citing the threat from Russia, Poland could send troops to Western Ukraine and, “if we are blunt,” stay there for a good while, Putin argued. translation His comments were shared by Kevin Rothrock, editor at the independent Russian media outlet Meduza.
“The possibility is clear,” Putin said. “If Polish troops enter, for example, Lviv or other Ukrainian territories, they will stay there, and they will stay there forever.”
Russia’s attempt to sow discord among allies is nothing new. In May 2022, Sputnik, the Russian government media platform, broadcast the claim — citing Russian intelligence — that Warsaw would seek to annex parts of western Ukraine, part of the European Union’s disinformation surveillance service. described at the time as “[r]a story that emerges presenting Poland as a state with imperial ambitions.”
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, made the charge again last April. “Given the current circumstances, Poland has decided that the opportunity to absorb the remnants of Ukraine is now, or never,” he wrote on Twitter. The demand was over and over again this month by a spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry.
Speaking on Friday, Putin – who launched the 2022 invasion hoping to topple the Kyiv government – claimed he would not “interfere” in Ukraine’s internal affairs. But he accused Poland of wanting parts of Belarus, a close Russian ally. That would start a war, he said.
“We will respond to that in every way,” Putin said.
Representatives for the Polish and Ukrainian governments did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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