Polish lower house condemns Putin's WW2 comments

The document goes on to say that the immediate cause of the war was the August 23 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Rafał Guz/PAP

The Polish Sejm (lower house) in a Thursday resolution condemned Russian leader Vladimir Putin's December comments concerning Poland's part in the outbreak of World War Two and the Holocaust.

"The Sejm of the Republic of Poland condemns the provocative and untrue allegations by representatives of the Russian Federation's highest authorities, who are attempting to burden Poland with responsibility for the outbreak of World War Two," the resolution authors wrote, adding that "the greatness of nations and relations between states cannot be built on lies and historical falsehoods."

The document goes on to say that the immediate cause of the war was the August 23 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and that the war "brought death to (...) millions of people, the construction of Nazi concentration camps in Europe and the Holocaust, one of the greatest crimes in human history."

The resolution authors added that the Soviet Union admittedly made sacrifices in its battle against the Third Reich, but noted that "unfortunately this did not bring independence and sovereignty to the countries of Central-East Europe, nor respect for human rights to their people."

At a December 20 sitting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Putin said the immediate cause of World War Two was not the August 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union but the 1938 Munich Pact, which secured the cession to Germany of Czechoslovakia's Sudeten German territory and which Poland attempted to use to secure its claims to the Zaolzie region, over which it was in dispute with Czechoslovakia.

Referring to the Soviets' September 22, 1939, takeover of Brest in then eastern Poland (today's Belarus) from the Germans, who had captured the city several days earlier, Putin stressed that did not mean the Soviets had taken it from Poland, as at the time they were not fighting against Poland, which had lost control of the area. He also observed that the Red Army's entry into the region probably helped save many local lives, especially of Jews, who would have otherwise been exterminated by the Germans.

"At that time the Polish government had lost control of those territories, so there was nobody to negotiate with. The Soviet Union did not actually take anything away from Poland," Putin said.

He also accused Poland's pre-war government of hedging ties to Nazi Germany, by which they "exposed their people, the Polish people, to the German war machine and contributed to the outbreak of World War Two."