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Archive for Poland

Newsline: U.S. ambassador says EU criticism of Poland ‘overblown’

The U.S. ambassador to Poland said the European Union’s criticism of Poland’s adherence to democracy is “overblown”, as Warsaw faces cuts to EU budget funds over its judiciary reforms. Since coming to power in 2015, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has faced criticism from the EU over its overhaul of its judiciary system, with Brussels accusing Poland of violating EU laws. As its relationship with the EU has faltered, PiS has focused on building strong ties with the United States, especially since President Donald Trump came to power in 2016. “If you’re asking me…do I think that a lot of the attacks on Poland about democratic values is overblown, my answer is yes, I do,” U.S. ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher told Reuters in an interview. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-poland-usa/u-s-ambassador-says-eu-criticism-of-poland-overblown-idUSKCN24J0G5) The EU is struggling to respond to what many in western Europe see as creeping authoritarianism in the eastern wing of the bloc, especially Poland, Hungary and Romania.

Newsline: US Embassy, Consulate suspend most visa-related services in Poland

The US Embassy in Warsaw and the Consulate General in Krakow announced on Friday that amid coronavirus concerns they will suspend most visa-related services from16 March, adding that service to US citizens will continue to be provided. “To ensure public safety due to the #coronavirus, most visa services at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and the U.S. Consulate in Krakow will be suspended beginning Monday, March 16. Services for US citizens remain open,” US Embassy Warsaw twitter post read. (Newsline: https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/polands-us-embassy-consulate-suspend-most-visa-related-services-11127) The Polish government said that it decided to shut down for two weeks all educational, higher learning and cultural institutions in the country in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. All mass events have also been called off in the country.

Newsline: Poland evacuates its ambassador from Iraq

Following Iran’s attack on two U.S. bases in Iraq, Poland evacuated its ambassador in Iraq, according to Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, local media reported. (https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/poland-evacuates-its-ambassador-from-iraq/1696661) Czaputowicz told Radio ZET that Beata Peksa, the Polish ambassador to Iraq, has been evacuated and returned to Poland It was also reported that the evacuation took place at the request of British diplomats, because the Polish embassy is located in the international zone of the British embassy’s premises.

Newsline: Israeli man who spat at Polish ambassador convicted of assault

An Israeli man was convicted on Sunday of spitting on the Polish ambassador to Israel in an incident earlier this year that came at the height of a round of tensions between Jerusalem and Poland over the latter’s role during the Holocaust. Arik Lederman, 65, agreed to a plea deal that saw the indictment against him amended to consist only of an assault charge, while a charge of threatening the ambassador was dropped. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-man-convicted-of-assault-for-spitting-at-polish-ambassador/) According to the indictment, Lederman blocked Ambassador Marek Magierowski’s car outside the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv in May and banged on its roof. The ambassador then rolled down the window to photograph Lederman, who opened the door and spat at Magierowski twice.

Newsline: US ambassador sided with Poland in dispute with Russia

Germany and the Soviet Union were both responsible for the outbreak of World War II, said the United States Ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher. Her statements, made in a tweet, were responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Poland was responsible for the start of the war. “Dear President Putin, Hitler and Stalin colluded to start WWII. That is a fact. Poland was a victim of this horrible conflict,” Mosbacher wrote. (https://www.dw.com/en/us-ambassador-in-poland-says-soviet-union-helped-start-wwii/a-51835348) Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Sunday condemned Putin’s comments as well, writing in a statement that it was unacceptable to cast perpetrators as victims. The Polish Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned the Russian ambassador over Putin’s comments. “President Putin has lied about Poland on numerous occasions, and he has always done it deliberately,” said Morawiecki. Over the past week, Putin has made multiple comments denying the Soviet Union’s role in starting the war, and tried to blame Poland for its outbreak. He also denied that Russia invaded Poland in 1939, purporting that Poland was on board with Hitler’s Holocaust plans.

Newsline: Poland summons Russian ambassador over WWII spat

The Polish authorities protested “historical insinuations” made by top Kremlin officials by summoning Russian ambassador to Warsaw, Sergey Andreyev. “[W]e are ready to explain to Russian diplomats historical facts for as long as it will take for them to understand that the world will never forget the true meaning of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact,” Polish Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcin Przydacz, said on Twitter on Saturday. (https://www.dw.com/en/poland-summons-arussian-ambassador-over-wwii-spat/a-51822547) After Vladimir Putin slammed Polish envoy to Nazi Germany as an “anti-Semitic pig,” Poland summoned Russia’s ambassador. The nations dispute the role of Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of non-aggression in the lead-up to WWII. The latest escalation comes after the European Parliament passed a resolution on the pact, saying the accord “paved the way for the outbreak of World War II,” and describing it as a deal “between the two totalitarian regimes.” Moscow has long insisted that the pact, named after German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and his Soviet counterpart Vyacheslav Molotov, was a necessary evil to delay the Nazi invasion. Modern Russia also strongly resents attempts to equalize Nazi Germany and the Stalin-led Soviet Union, whose troops caused well over half of Germany’s military losses and also paid the highest price to defeat the Nazi war machine.

Newsline: Putin Calls Former Polish Ambassador ‘Anti-Semitic Pig’

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Polish officials on Tuesday for siding with the Nazis prior to World War II in comments sparked by a recent European resolution. The European Parliament in September condemned the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact — a Soviet-Nazi non-aggression deal — for the outbreak of World War II and blamed modern Russia for rewriting history by exonerating its signing. The move has been met with derision by Putin and other Russian officials, who say the pact — which divided Poland into spheres of influence — helped save thousands of lives. Citing archival documents, Putin told defense officials Tuesday that Poland’s envoy to Nazi Germany had promised to build Hitler “a beautiful monument in Warsaw” if he expelled the country’s Jews to Africa. “That bastard! That anti-Semitic pig,” Putin said, apparently referring to Józef Lipski, who served as the Polish ambassador in Berlin until 1939. (https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/12/25/putin-calls-former-polish-ambassador-anti-semitic-pig-a68739) “He was in complete solidarity with Hitler in his anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic sentiment,” the Russian president said. Putin echoed his insistence Friday that the Soviet Union had been the last to sign a non-aggression agreement with Hitler before the outbreak of war. Poland and the Western powers, Putin said, “acted in collusion” with Hitler. These dealings, particularly the 1938 Munich Agreement that allowed Hitler to annex parts of former Czechoslovakia, actually paved the way toward World War II, he argued — in his second comments on the matter over the past week.

Newsline: Polish ambassador urges Poles to ‘seriously consider’ leaving UK

Poland’s ambassador to the UK has urged the hundreds of thousands of Poles living in Britain to “seriously consider” leaving the UK after Brexit. In an open letter to Poles in the UK, Arkady Regocki warned that many of his compatriots had not yet applied for settled status, which grants EU nationals permanent residence. Regocki revealed that an “alarmingly low” number of the more than 800,000 Poles living and working in the UK have so far applied to stay after it leaves the European Union. (https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/18/uk/poland-ambassador-open-letter-to-poles-brexit-gbr-intl/index.html) “To date, around 27% of Poles living in the British Isles have applied for settled status,” he wrote. “This is an alarmingly low level, meaning that thousands of Polish citizens may be exposed to complications.”

Newsline: UK charges 55-year-old man over bomb hoax at Polish consulate

British police said prosecutors had charged a 55-year-old man with making a bomb hoax at Poland’s consulate in the northern English city of Manchester. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-poland-hoax/uk-charges-55-year-old-man-over-bomb-hoax-at-polish-consulate-idUSKCN1UZ1V0) Bogdan Benduski, who gave no fixed address, would appear before magistrates in Manchester at a future date, the city’s police force said in a statement. Local media reported that Poland’s consulate in Manchester was temporarily evacuated after a security threat.

Newsline: Police Files Charges Against Israeli Who Spat at Polish Ambassador

Israeli prosecutors filed charges against a man accused of spitting at Poland’s ambassador, an incident that drew strong condemnation from Warsaw and underscored tensions between the countries over anti-Semitism and Holocaust history. The suspect, Erik Lederman, was indicted for assault and criminal threats, Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court papers showed. Police said that in May 14 incident in Tel Aviv he had struck the roof of a car carrying Ambassador Marek Magierowski with his hand, then opened a door and spat twice on the envoy. (https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-police-files-charges-against-israeli-who-spat-at-polish-ambassador-1.7249611) The counts carry a maximum sentence of five years in jail.