On April 28, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, spun a conspiracy theory about Polish designs on Ukraine.
Without evidence, Naryshkin claimed the United States and Poland are working to restore Polish control over its “historical possessions” in Ukraine.
The intelligence service, known as the SVR, issued this statement:
“As stated by the director of the SVR, S.E. Naryshkin: ‘According to information received by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Washington and Warsaw are working on plans to establish Poland’s tight military-political control over “its historical possessions” in Ukraine.’”
It further quoted Naryshkin, claiming the first step would come with Polish troops entering western Ukraine under the pretext of protecting it from Russia.
“Currently, the modalities of the upcoming mission are being discussed with the Biden administration,” the SVR quoted Naryshkin as saying. “According to preliminary agreements, it will take place without a NATO mandate, but with the participation of ‘willing states.’ Warsaw has not yet been able to agree with the potential participants of the ‘coalition of like-minded people.’ ”
Naryshkin said Polish forces would be deployed to parts of the country where the risk of encountering Russian troops are minimal.
The Polish government dismissed the unfounded accusations as disinformation.
“The lies about Poland's alleged plans to attack western Ukraine have been repeated for several years,” Reuters quoted Stanislaw Zaryn, spokesman for Poland's special services coordinator, as saying.
“The aim of Russian propaganda is to foster distrust between Ukraine and Poland to undermine PL-UA cooperation.”
Separately, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council and former director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), claimed that the policies of the West could lead to the disintegration of Ukraine.
Speaking to the Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Patrushev accused the United States of trying to “suppress Russia” and divide “a single people” by “using their proteges in Kyiv” to create an opposition force to Russia.
Commenting on Patrushev’s statement, Sergei Tsekov, a member of the international affairs committee of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, said that the collapse of Ukraine “has already taken place.”
Tsekov cited Russia’s recognition of two self-proclaimed Russia-backed breakaway provinces in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Izvestia newspaper reported.
Tsekov claimed Ukraine is not far from being like Nazi Germany and said “the nationalist, Nazi system” never brought benefits, but “always destroyed countries.”
Led by President Vladimir Putin’s false claims, Russian propaganda has tried to justify its war as an effort of emancipation and “de-Nazification.” There is no evidence to back up that portrayal, and much evidence that Putin is projecting.
After annexing Crimea in 2014 and fomenting conflict in eastern Ukraine for eight years, Russia is reportedly preparing to absorb the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic into the Russian Federation.
In his comments, Naryshkin said allied powers accepted Poland’s annexation of western Ukraine after World War I. But unlike the Russian Federation, the modern Polish state has not pursued revanchist policies against Ukraine.
Poland was the first foreign country to recognize Ukraine’s independence in December 1991.
The previous year, Poland and Ukraine agreed to the “Declaration on the foundations and general directions in the development of Polish-Ukrainian relations.”
Article 3 of the declaration states that neither country has, nor will, pursue territorial claims against the other.
Poland has been on the “front line of helping Ukraine” by providing weapons and humanitarian support, and accepting refugees, following Russia’s February 24 invasion, said U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
While Russian officials accuse the West and even the Ukrainian themselves of bringing about Ukraine’s destruction, it is Russia’s policy, which some argue constitutes genocide, that is seeking Ukraine’s dismemberment.
Days before launching the war, Putin argued that Ukraine is not even a real country, falsely claiming that Ukraine’s government is fascist. Putin called Ukraine part of Russia’s “own history, culture, spiritual space.”
Russian forces have indiscriminately bombarded populated areas, killing civilians and destroying hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said those actions may have been war crimes.
She also said “[t]he scale of summary executions of civilians in areas previously occupied by Russian forces are also emerging.”
One such atrocity in the town of Bucha allegedly saw hundreds of civilians systematically killed.
Putin has called the Bucha killings a provocation or fake, while also awarding military honors to the Russian forces suspected of carrying out the atrocities.
“Russian practice of mass killing, rape, and deportation, the claim that a nation does not exist is the rhetorical preparation for destroying it,” Yale history professor Timothy Snyder wrote in The New Yorker magazine.
Snyder noted that Poles, “whose ancestors were the chief victims of Ukrainian nationalism, have admitted nearly three million Ukrainian refugees.”
That, he wrote, demonstrates “there are other ways to handle history than stories of eternal victimhood.”
Numerous reports say Moscow is forcibly deporting Ukrainians to Russia, a violation of the Geneva conventions.
Moscow has also been accused of “kidnapping” Ukrainian children and sending them to Russia, where they allegedly face the prospect of illegal adoption.
During the Second World War, Nazi Germany kidnapped tens of thousands of children, many of them Polish, and forcibly “Germanized” them.