UPDATE - Putin calls Poland's western territories as 'Stalin's gift to Poles'
Russian president accuses Poland of plotting to take control of Ukraine's western part through formation of joint Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian military group
UPDATES WITH ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM RUSSIAN PRESIDENT
By Elena Teslova
MOSCOW (AA) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Poland's western territories are "Stalin's gift to Poles."
Commenting on Poland's alleged plans to take control of Ukraine's western territories, Putin said at a Russian Security Council meeting in Moscow that Russia may remind Warsaw of how its previous "expansionist plans" failed.
"The fire of war is being strenuously kindled. In particular, they (the West) use the ambitions of the leaders of some Eastern European states, who have long turned hatred of Russia, and Russophobia into their main export commodity and an instrument of their domestic policy. And now they want to 'warm their hands' on the Ukrainian tragedy," he said.
Putin said plans to form a joint Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian military group imply the establishment of a regular unit with the stated goal of "providing security of Ukraine's western territories," but in reality, "for the occupation of these territories."
"After all, the prospect is obvious – if Polish units enter, for example, Lviv or other territories of Ukraine, then they will remain there. And they will remain forever," according to the Russian president.
Putin recalled that Poland used Russia's civil war in 1917 to annex its historical regions, and that part of Lithuania, the Vilen Krai, took part in the partition of Czechoslovakia as a result of the Munich agreement with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in 1938.
The Russian president reminded that "such an aggressive policy" ended for Poland with the national tragedy of 1939, when "it was thrown by the Western allies to be eaten by the German military machine," losing its independence and statehood, "which was restored to a great extent thanks to the Soviet Union."
"And it was thanks to the Soviet Union, thanks to Stalin's position, that Poland received significant lands in the West, the lands of Germany. This is exactly the case… the western territories of present–day Poland are Stalin's gift to the Poles. Have our friends in Warsaw forgotten about it? We will remind them," he said.
- Putin calls Poles, Lithuanians 'cannon fodder for West'
Putin charged Polish leaders with wanting "to return territories which they consider ‘theirs,’ today's Western Ukraine,” through a coalition that would be allowed to operate under the NATO "umbrella."
They often daydream about Belarusian lands, he continued.
According to the Russian president, the Polish authorities are hiding the truth from the people, saying that "the truth is that the Ukrainian 'cannon fodder' is clearly not enough for the West, therefore, they plan to use a new expendable material – the Poles themselves, the Lithuanians, and further down the list."
"I will say one thing – this is a very dangerous game, and the authors of such plans should think about the consequences," he stressed.
- West 'disappointed' with results of Ukraine's counteroffensive
According to the Russian president, the West is disappointed with the results of Ukraine's counteroffensive, which is unsuccessful despite "colossal resources" being invested in Kyiv's support, arms deliveries, and services of "thousands of foreign mercenaries and advisers," who are used "most actively" to breach Russia's defense.
Additional Western weapons will prolong the conflict while doing "some damage" to Russia, he said, adding that at the same time, the NATO arsenals and stocks of old Soviet weapons in some states have already been largely emptied, and the existing production facilities in the West cannot quickly replenish the reserves of equipment and ammunition.
Putin asserts that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will continue their "suicidal attacks," referring to the notion that the longer the war lasts, the more soldiers Kyiv will lose.
Despite the Ukrainian authorities' tough mobilization measures, "the country's mobilization resource is being depleted," he claimed.
"People in Ukraine are increasingly raising a question, a legitimate question – for what, for whose selfish interests are their relatives and friends dying," he said.
According to Putin, public opinion in Europe is changing as well, with elites and the general public seeing Ukraine's support as a "dead end," "serving the interests of an overseas global hegemon, which benefits from Europe's weakness and profits from prolonging the Ukrainian conflict."
In his estimation, he said, Ukraine may bargain with Poland over the western territories "to extend its existence," like their "ideological predecessors," disciples of Ukrainian nationalist Symon Petliura, who gave Poland lands of Galicia and Western Volhynia in return for military help.
The Ukrainian authorities may take whatever actions they deem necessary, but any aggression against Belarus will be considered aggression against the Russian Federation, he stressed.
"We will respond with all available means," he warned.
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