The Soviet Union invaded Poland on September 17, 1939, as World War II was gathering speed.
On Friday, Poland marked 82 years since that day, with top officials, including President Andrzej Duda, attending commemorative ceremonies around the country.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a post on social media, lauding the Red Army for “starting a liberating march on Polish territory” on September 17, 1939, the kresy24.pl website reported.
The Russian post said the march stopped Nazi Germany’s advance and met with “an enthusiastic reception from the nations of Western Belarus and Western Ukraine.”
Yet neither the text nor an accompanying video mentioned that the Soviet army crossed the internationally recognised Curzon line demarcating the USSR from Poland, and that it was a result of Stalin’s secret pact with Hitler to carve up the country sandwiched between the two military powers, kresy24.pl said.
In response to Moscow’s move, Łukasz Jasina, a spokesman for the Polish foreign ministry, took to Twitter, stressing “there was no liberating march, but aggression carried out in collusion with Nazi Germany.”
Noting that Poland still existed at the time as an independent country, Jasina’s English-language tweet went on to say that “the inhabitants of the occupied territories were soon to become the victims of crimes committed by the Soviet state.”
Russia’s ally, Belarus, meanwhile uploaded a series of misleading clips about the events of September 17, 1939 on YouTube, the kresy24.pl website reported.
At dawn on September 17, 1939, Soviet troops invaded Poland following a secret agreement with the German Third Reich.
Poland was then caught between German Nazi forces advancing from the west and Soviet forces from the east.
Following the invasion, some 250,000 Polish soldiers were captured by the Soviets, who later executed thousands of prisoners of war, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency has reported.
Mass deportations of the civilian population followed, with up to 1.5 million Poles transported away into the Soviet interior, mainly to Siberia and Kazakhstan, according to some estimates.
Tens of thousands of ethnic Poles killed in the former USSR before the 1939 Soviet invasion were remembered at memorial ceremonies in Warsaw last month.