Russia striving for destruction of EU, NATO - former EC head

Commenting on Putin's long-term goals, Tusk said the Russian leader wanted to bring about the disintegration of the EU and NATO. Adam Warżawa/PAP

Russian leader Vladimir Putin is aiming at the disintegration of the EU and NATO, former Polish PM and ex-European Council head Donald Tusk warned in a Saturday interview for the Polish national daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

Asked about Putin's recent accusations regarding Polish complicity in the outbreak of World War Two and the Holocaust, Tusk said the main reason for the Kremlin's "intensified propaganda" were the approaching anniversaries of the liberation of the Nazi-German Auschwitz death camp in southern Poland, the main Holocaust site, and the end of World War Two.

He added that Polish ruling party Law and Justice's misguided reinterpretations of history and Poland's isolation in Europe in result of the party's policies made Poland easy prey for Putin's propaganda campaign.

"Today, Poland is an easy target for this campaign. Putin wants to be the main positive protagonist at these celebrations. (...) Serious errors in Law and Justice's historical politics and Poland's European isolation make the job easier for our opponents and those who want to make us co-responsible for the Holocaust," Tusk said.

Commenting on Putin's long-term goals, Tusk said the Russian leader wanted to bring about the disintegration of the EU and NATO, and observed that he had allies in this respect, also within the Polish ruling party. He also mentioned recent changes in Ukraine, the progressing rapprochement between Russia and Belarus, and US President Donald Trump's policy as "sufficient reasons to strive for an elementary (...) consensus in international policy."

Tusk also stressed the importance of Poland regaining its position of regional leader in the EU, and voiced fears that the present Polish government "was not fully aware of how serious the situation is."