Radoslaw Sikorski has appeared to disown some of the explosive comments he made to an American magazine about how President Putin suggested partitioning Ukraine with Poland’s help.
“The interview with Politico was not authorized, and some of my words have been over-interpreted.,” Poland’s former foreign minister tweeted on Monday evening.
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Russian newspaper RBK that the interview was “nonsense”, adding that “the Kremlin does not plan to respond to comments made by the former foreign minister of Poland that a few years ago Russian president Vladimir Putin proposed to divide Ukraine to Polish prime minister Donald Tusk”.
Ben Judah, the journalist who interviewed Sikorski for Politico magazine, has told the TVN24 broadcaster that he was “not sure what Sikorski had in mind” when he said some of his comments had been “over-interpreted”.
The American journalist also reminded that in the United States, journalists are not required to “authorize” an interview before publication, as they are, technically, in Poland.
Politico magazine reported that Radoslaw Sikorski – who was moved from the foreign office to become speaker of parliament this September after seven years as foreign minister – said that President Putin told the then prime minister of Poland Donald Tusk while on a visit to Moscow in 2008: “Ukraine is an artificial country and that Lwow is a Polish city and why don’t we just sort it out together”.
“We know what they have been thinking for years,” Sikorski said. Putin “wanted us to become participants in this partition of Ukraine.”
“Luckily Tusk didn’t answer. He knew he was being recorded,” Sikorski added.
Poland’s former chief of diplomacy also said that the current civil war in eastern Ukraine, with government forces fighting rebels backed by Moscow, “actually began as early as 2008”.
At a NATO summit in Bucharest that year Putin “gave his extraordinary speech saying Ukraine was an artificial country and the greater part of these lands historically belonged to Russia.” (pg)