Russian Intel Chief's Statement on Poland's Appetite for Western Ukraine Based on 'Reliable Sources'
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Intelligence Service chief Sergey Naryshkin said that Warsaw and Washington were plotting to "reunite" Poland with western Ukraine, a statement that was branded “false” by the Polish secret service.
Claims by Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) chief Sergey Naryshkin of US-Polish plans to annex western Ukraine was based on sources familiar with the matter, the SVR press service has reported.
“The statement […] is not a version, but intelligence information obtained from several reliable sources”, the press service underscored.
This came a day after Naryshkin stated that Poland is mulling deploying its "peacekeeper forces" in some regions of western Ukraine under the pretext of protecting them from “Russian aggression”.
“According to information received by the SVR, Washington and Warsaw are working on plans to establish tight Polish military-political control over “their historical possessions” in the area, Naryshkin told reporters on Thursday.
The SVR chief added that the Polish troops will only be deployed in the Western Ukraine regions where the risk of clashing with the Russian forces is minimal.
“The priority 'combat missions' of the Polish military will include the gradual interception from the National Guard of Ukraine of control over strategic facilities” located in those regions”, he said.
Naryshkin pointed out that the preliminary agreements between Warsaw and Washington regarding the matter envisage the "reunification" to go ahead without a NATO mandate, but with the participation of "willing" states. However, Poland has not yet been able to reach any deal with potential members of a "coalition of the like-minded", according to him.
"The Polish secret services are already searching for 'agreeable' representatives of the Ukrainian elite to form a Warsaw-oriented 'democratic' counterweight to the nationalists”, the top Russian intelligence official said, adding that “according to the calculations of the Polish administration, preventive consolidation in the west of Ukraine will most likely split the country”.
Naryshkin also noted that the current developments could be perceived as Warsaw’s attempt to repeat the historic "deal" following the end of the First World War. The Western powers of the Entente alliance recognised Warsaw's right to occupy part of the Ukraine ostensibly to protect the population from the "Bolshevik threat", and then later annex those areas to Polish territory.
Poland Rejects Russian SVR Chief's Statement on Warsaw's Plan on Western Ukraine
Stanislaw Zaryn, spokesman for Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski, responded by denying that Warsaw was planning the annexation of Western Ukraine.
“Sergey Naryshkin continues the Russian information operation against Poland and the US. Russia's intelligence chief is spreading insinuations against Washington and Warsaw, arguing falsely that they are preparing a Polish annexation of western Ukraine”, Zaryn posted on Twitter.
He noted that allegations of Poland's plans "to attack western Ukraine have been repeated for several years," adding that Moscow's alleged disinformation campaign "was particularly intensified after the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine”, referring to Moscow’s ongoing special military operation in the country.
Zaryn claimed that the aim of Russia's media campaign was to undermine cooperation between Warsaw and Kiev, as well as “to portray the West as an aggressive entity towards Russia and Poland as a warmonger, which poses a threat for the whole of NATO and Europe”.
This followed Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov's warning that Russia would consider it "a great threat" if Poland hosted US nuclear weapons on its soil. In an interview with the French TV channel LCI earlier this month, Peskov said that Warsaw’s “line is extremely war-like, anti-Russian, and the proposed actions [to host nuclear weapons], of course, will only exacerbate tensions on the continent”.
The comments came shortly after Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party and the country’s deputy prime minister, made it clear that Warsaw would be open to having US nuclear weapons
stationed in the country, although the move was not currently under consideration.
Kaczynski made the remarks against the background of the Russian special operation to demilitarize and "de-Nazify" Ukraine that has been under way since 24 February. Russian President Vladimir Putin
ordered the operation in response to calls for help from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's republics to counter intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops, while insisting that Moscow has no plans to occupy Ukraine. The Russian Defence Ministry stressed that the operation only targets Ukrainian military infrastructure with high-precision weapons.