Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of "deliberately" lying about the start of World War II in an effort to deflect international pressure over Moscow's much more recent activities.
The statements are the latest in an ongoing diplomatic tussle over culpability for a war that followed a nonaggression pact between Hitler and Stalin and killed some 6 million Poles, in addition to tens of millions of Russians, Germans, and other Europeans.
"President Putin has lied about Poland on numerous occasions, and he has always done it deliberately," Morawiecki said in a statement quoted by AP. “It usually happens in a situation when the authorities in Moscow feel international pressure caused by its actions. And this pressure is not on the historical stage but on the modern geopolitical scene."
The Polish Foreign Ministry summoned Moscow's ambassador on December 27 after the latest instance of Putin accusing Poland of responsibility for the outbreak of World War II.
Putin had criticized as "sheer nonsense" a European Parliamentary resolution saying the Soviet Union bore partial responsibility for World War II, alongside Germany.
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union secretly agreed to carve up Poland into German and Soviet sections in a treaty of nonaggression known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939. Adolf Hitler ordered an attack on Poland days later.
Morawiecki cited international pressure currently bearing down on Putin over Russian state-sponsored doping, his efforts to "fully subordinate Belarus to Russia," and continuing sanctions over Russia's military invasion of Ukraine and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
“I consider the words of President Putin as an attempt to conceal these problems,” Morawiecki said.