Duda accuses Russia of falsifying history at WWII anniversary

During his speech Duda claimed that "today some are trying to twist history." Marcin Gadomski/PAP

Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, has accused Russia of "twisting" history during a ceremony to mark the 84th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.

Duda was speaking early on Friday morning in Westerplatte, near Gdansk, where the first shots of the war were fired on September 1, 1939 when a German battleship bombarded a Polish garrison.

During his speech Duda claimed that "today some are trying to twist history."

"I'm talking mainly about these 'experts', mostly Russian, and the Russian authorities who are trying to rewrite history," he said.

"Nothing will change history, nothing will change the historical truth, nothing will fortunately change the documents that are still there, the photos of German, Nazi and Russian, Soviet soldiers embracing and smiling at each other; a red star along with a swastika, and both wanted to rule over Europe and over the nations," Duda said.

Although Germany later invaded the Soviet Union, Duda added that "earlier this land - the land of Central Europe, the land of Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians had been soaked with blood" in an apparent reference to the Soviet invasion and occupation of neighbouring states.

Poland has long accused Russia of trying to downplay, or even whitewash, the Soviet invasion of Poland and the Baltic states and the brutal occupation that followed.

These accusations have gained more weight in recent years owing to allegations that the Kremlin is using its particular view on history as means of providing historical justification for its war on Ukraine. 

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