Russia 'Offered Poland Part of Ukraine' - Former FMUkraine | October 21, 2014, Tuesday // 08:08| views
Former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski gives a press conference after he was elected for the new Sejm Speaker during Polish Sejm sitting in Warsaw, Poland, 24 September 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Russia has sought to involve Poland in the partition of Ukraine, former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told a US media outlet.
"This was one of the first things that Putin said to my prime minister, Donald Tusk, [soon to be President of the European Council] when he visited Moscow. He went on to say Ukraine is an artificial country and that Lwow is a Polish city and why don’t we just sort it out together," Politico magazine quotes him as saying.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has however dismissed claims of Sikorski as "sheer red herring".
Warsaw was allegedly offered five provinces of Western Ukraine, but refused. “We made it very, very clear to them– we wanted nothing to do with this,” says Sikorski.
Russia had also run "calculations on what provinces would be profitable to grab," Sikorski claims, explaining Poland had eyed Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa regions.
A potential seizure of the Crimean peninsula was viewed at that time as "a way of blackmailing [ousted President] Viktor Yanukovych," and Putin used it to prevent the Association Agreement with Europe from being signed, he also argues.
Poland's former top diplomat further outlines potential land grabs by Russia in what Moscow describes as "Novorossiya", adding it might face tough challenge from the Ukrainian people.
Sikorski was on the spearhead of the EU's initial response to the Ukraine crisis when violence reached its peak in February 2014.