Top Russian spy warns of Polish land grab
Poland’s military assistance to Ukraine is part of a secret plan aimed at destroying the country’s statehood, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, warned on Tuesday. If Kiev is ultimately defeated by Moscow, Poland will be able to retake lands that it lost to the Soviet Union in the 1940s, he suggested.
“Seizing control of the western territories of modern Ukraine, the so-called Kresy [‘borderlands’ in Polish], is the coveted dream of the Polish nationalists,” Naryshkin claimed.
The Polish government cannot simply drop this element of its national ideology, he added. Warsaw sees “the collapse of Ukrainian statehood after a military defeat as a condition for implementing this idea,” the official said.
Naryshkin did not offer any direct evidence to support his assertions, although he has repeatedly warned about Poland’s intentions.
‘Kresy’ is the name of certain territories that historically belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Russian Empire gained control of some parts of Poland during the 18th century partitions, but its collapse after the Russian Revolution allowed Warsaw to regain independence.
During World War I, the British proposed the so-called Curzon Line as a Russian-Polish border, but Warsaw rejected the idea and took control of some lands to the east of the proposed demarcation. Decades later, the line served as the basis of the post-World War II settlement, with Poland gaining some German lands as compensation for ceding territory to the Soviet Union. These lands are currently controlled by Ukraine and Belarus.
The Polish government “opposes peaceful settlement [of the conflict in Ukraine] and assures that it will provide steady military assistance to the Kiev regime” because of its territorial aspirations, Naryshkin stated. “This situation certainly worsens the conditions for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”
The Russian official argued that Poland was not above an opportunistic land grab, recalling its role in the split of Czechoslovakia just before World War II. The 1938 Munich Agreement signed by the UK and France with Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy allowed Berlin to occupy large parts of Czechoslovakia, which annexed the region of Trans-Olza in the process.
Naryshkin has previously raised the possibility that Warsaw had designs on Ukrainian territory, but Warsaw has denied harboring any such plans and branded the Russian official’s claim an information warfare operation.
The intelligence chief issued his new warning during a visit to Minsk, where he met President Alexander Lukashenko. The Belarusian leader voiced his own suspicions about Warsaw’s intentions for Ukraine and for his nation last May.