Stanisław Żaryn was speaking after the Russian spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, a day earlier expressed Moscow's concern that the United States "plans for increasing its military presence in Poland," Poland's PAP news agency reported.
In an interview with PAP, Żaryn was quoted as saying on Friday that Zakharova's statement was "a continuation of anti-Western rhetoric," with "concerns raised yet again" about NATO and especially the US military involvement in Poland.
Żaryn, who is spokesman for Poland's minister in charge of the security services, Mariusz Kamiński, denounced Zakharova's statement as part of "the Kremlin's disinformation effort as Russia seeks to paint the picture of a threatening West."
Russia 'masking its own aggression'
By portraying NATO as an aggressive force, Żaryn said, Russia's propaganda machine "is masking its own aggression against other countries as well as making sure Russian society constantly feels under threat."
This tactic is designed to make Russians turn to President Vladimir Putin as their "protector against dangers from the West," Żaryn told the PAP news agency.
In the process, he said, people's attention is being diverted away from "ever more serious economic problems," the government's "failure to avert the pandemic" and from social inequality, "which is increasingly consigning Russian society to abject poverty."
Żaryn said he was particularly surprised at Zakharova's criticism of NATO for carrying out exercises during the pandemic.
He argued that the Russian army was itself conducting "continuous maneuvers" and that its upcoming Zapad-21 exercises "have in the past featured scenarios of aggressive action" against the West.
'Information warfare against the West'
"The words of the spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry provide yet another indication that Moscow's diplomats are deeply involved in information warfare against the West," Żaryn said.
"Maria Zakharova is actively engaged in promoting lies about Poland, NATO and the West," he also stated.
During her weekly news conference on Thursday, Zakharova said America was planning to "significantly expand" its contingent in Poland and would be able to swiftly raise the number of soldiers from the current 4,500 to 20,000, the PAP news agency reported.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. Photo: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/ABACAPRESS.COM via PAP
She also accused NATO of conducting maneuvers on its eastern flank "despite the pandemic" and of training for confrontation with an "equal enemy," meaning Russia, according to the Polish news agency.
"We regard such exercises as provocative and, under the present circumstances, at least short-sighted," Zakharova said, as quoted by PAP.