Holocaust commemoration overshadowed by history

Poland and Russia have long been at odds over historical interpretations of the Second World War. Warsaw stresses that the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact on the division of Poland was a major cause of the war. Putin recently said that in reality Poland was an accomplice of Hitler's Germany, especially in the Holocaust. It was also because of this dispute that Duda didn't attend the commemorative ceremony in Yad Vashem and Putin didn't go to Auschwitz.

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Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (UA) /

We stand in solidarity with Poland!

Poland and Ukraine must stand united against Russia's historical revisionism, writes Vasil Bondar, Ukraine's deputy foreign minister, in Dzerkalo Tyzhnia:

“Old and recent history teaches us that Moscow exploits our differences for its own ends. In keeping with its imperial intentions, the Kremlin has acted according to the principle of 'divide and rule' for centuries. The threat from the East was always particularly dangerous when we were weakened by disputes among ourselves and couldn't reach an agreement. ... Putin and his accomplices have now launched a large-scale propaganda campaign accusing Poland of anti-Semitism and of being responsible for the outbreak of the Second World War. The reaction of the Ukrainian side to these false accusations must be clear: We stand in solidarity with Poland!”

Polityka (PL) /

A distraction from Putin's real goals

By distorting historical events Putin is diverting attention from his real agenda, Polityka comments:

“In tactical terms Putin can speak of a success, because he forced Poland to play at a different venue, in Auschwitz instead of Yad Vashem. But the West didn't buy his historical fantasies and defended Poland's position. However, we Poles have focused so much on this defence that we failed to see that the ball has rolled onto a different playing field. We were no longer present when Putin showed that only those who make world politics happen - and not those who wait for a statement from the White House before taking a stand - can determine the outcome.”

Echo of Moscow (RU) /

History can't be so categorical

Both sides are oversimplifying in their versions of events, commentator Konstantin Sonin criticises in Echo of Moscow:

“When the Polish Prime Minister says that Germany and Russia unleashed the Second World War he is engaging in propaganda for internal consumption. But when a representative of the Russian foreign ministry says that Russia did not invade Poland and was not involved in the destruction of its statehood, that is also untrue. I get the feeling that someone wants to force us to choose between 'Russia was an aggressor in the Second World War' and 'Russia was a victim of aggression'. But this is a false choice, both answers are wrong. Russia was an aggressor against Poland, but Russia was also a victim of the German aggression that started the World War.”