Russian ambassador to Switzerland charges Poland with supporting Hitler

In his letter, the Polish ambassador pointed out that it was the Soviet Union and Germany that sealed a secret protocol concerning their joint occupation of Poland in their 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1984-1206-523 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

In a letter to the Swiss daily Tages Anzeiger, Russian Ambassador to Switzerland Sergei Garmonin has accused Poland of including a secret protocol pledging support for Hitler in its 1934 non-aggression pact with Germany.

Garmonin's words came in response to the daily's article on the current Polish-Russian dispute around Russian leader Vladimir Putin's recent accusations of Polish complicity in the outbreak of World War Two and the Holocaust.

In his response to Garmonin's accusations in the daily, Polish Ambassador to Switzerland Jakub Kumoch wrote that the Russian ambassador would be a "great discoverer" if he managed to produce the secret protocol.

"The Russian ambassador writes that in 1934 Poland sealed a non-aggression pact with Germany which contained a secret protocol stating (Poland's - PAP) support for Hitler. Ambassador, please show this unknown document, then you'll be a great discoverer!" Kumoch wrote.

In his letter, the Polish ambassador pointed out that it was the Soviet Union and Germany that sealed a secret protocol concerning their joint occupation of Poland in their 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. He added that this was agreed on despite Poland's 1932 non-aggression agreement with Moscow, and stated that the protocol was easily accessible online. He also recalled that the Soviet-German alliance continued over the first two years of the war, with the Soviets aiding the Germans in crushing the Polish armed forces.

The exchange comes in the wake of ongoing controversies around Putin's accusations against Poland at a December 20 sitting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Addressing the meeting, Putin said the immediate cause of World War Two was not the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact 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.

Putin 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."

Putin's words have evoked strong reactions from western media and politicians, most of whom have condemned them as false and an attempt to rewrite history.