Poland partakes in talks on Russian threats in Lithuania

More than 100 Western diplomats, parliamentarians and security experts gathered at a closed meeting in Trakai near Vilnius, Lithuania on Thursday and Friday to discuss security threats posed by Russia, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said on Friday.

The participants in the 14th Snow Meeting, an informal event that promotes transatlantic relations, represented more than a dozen NATO countries, as well as EU bodies. This year it was organised by Lithuania's Foreign Ministry.

"The main point of reference is the threat posed by Russia and it is clearly visible. The participants discussed what policy the West should adopt to provide an adequate response to these threats from Russia," Mr Czaputowicz said following the meeting.

Disinformation and contorting historical facts by Russia, that seeks to downplay the Soviet responsibility for the outbreak of WWII at the expense of Poland, was named one of the threats.

Russia’s putting the blame on Poland for starting WWII was described by Lithuanian FM Linas Linkevicius and Mr Czaputowicz as disinformation and a threat to their nations. The historical smear campaign has been ongoing over the past weeks. Russian officials have also repeatedly said that an alleged Polish anti-Semitism contributed to the outbreak of the bloody conflict.

“We will not let the Kremlin manipulate history so easily and spread lies,” Mr Linkevicius said after a meeting with Mr Czaputowicz in Vilnius.

Western historians have debunked the Russian claims. WWII began in September 1939 with the Nazi Germany invasion of Poland followed by the Soviet Union’s back-stabbing offensive two weeks later. Soviet troops were quick to arrest some 22,000 Polish officers who were executed the following year on the orders of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Germany and the USSR were happy to carve up Poland, the Baltic States and Finland according to the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact

“They try to revive an image of Stalin as some sort of good guy and also justify the Molotov- Ribbentrop pact," Mr Linkevicius said, adding that “we will not allow this to happen.”

For his part, Mr Czaputowicz added that “we have agreed that our experts would cooperate closely in the area of disinformation so that we can resist these threats together.”

EU Commissioner Vera Jourova had Poland’s back telling the European Parliament that she “rejects any false claim" that paints Poland as a perpetrator instead of a victim of the 1939-1945 war and that she “will not tolerate these attacks on Poland."

Summing up the meeting with Mr Linkevicius, Lithuanian PM Saulius Skvernelis and Parliament Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis in Vilnius, Mr Czaputowicz said it had been "very fruitful.”.

"We held very good talks. (...) We discussed bilateral relations and international cooperation. We have similar policy directions and similar views on threats," the Polish minister said.