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Criticism of Polish defence minister helps Russia: ruling party leader

29.05.2023 09:00
Poland’s conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński has said that the opposition’s criticism of the country’s defence minister “serves the interests of the Kremlin,” even if “unwittingly.”
Jarosław Kaczyński.
Jarosław Kaczyński.PAP/Leszek Szymański

Kaczyński made the statement in an interview with the Gazeta Polska weekly newspaper, parts of which were published on the niezalezna.pl website on Sunday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

In the interview, Kaczyński, who is the leader of Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, was asked about critical remarks from opposition politicians and media outlets about Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, over the discovery of a Russian missile in a forest near the north-central city of Bydgoszcz in April.

Kaczyński said: “I call these attacks Kremlin-serving attacks … They do serve the Kremlin, even if some of those who are making them are not aware of whose game they are playing and whom they are benefiting with their actions. Although in my view a huge proportion of them are indeed aware that they are taking part in an operation that serves Moscow’s interests.”

Asked about Błaszczak’s performance as defence minister, Kaczyński said: “For years, Poland had been gradually disarmed, and weapons purchases, apart from the F-16 fighter jets, were by far insufficient to meet the basic needs of our national security.”

Kaczyński added: “We have managed to reverse this incredibly dangerous process. There is money to arm the military and there is a minister who is implementing this process very effectively.”

He also said in the interview that Błaszczak was "working to develop Poland's domestic manufacturing capacity and to expand the army with equal success.”

The full interview with Kaczyński will appear in the latest issue of Gazeta Polska on Wednesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Broadcaster vows to take legal action against Kaczyński

Meanwhile, Polish private broadcaster TVN on Saturday said it would take legal action to defend its journalists "and the good name of TVN,” following a statement made by Kaczyński earlier that day.

At a news conference in the northeastern village of Kopczany, a TVN reporter on Saturday asked Kaczyński if he still trusted Błaszczak after “the discovery of the remains of a missile near Bydgoszcz four months after it landed.”

Kaczyński told the TVN reporter: “I must treat you--and this is not a comment personally about you--as a representative of the Kremlin because only the Kremlin wants Minister Błaszczak to stop being Poland’s defence minister.”

'Attempts to discredit' defence minister 'serve Russian propaganda': spokesman

In response to TVN’s announcement of legal action, ruling party spokesman Rafał Bochenek on Sunday accused the broadcaster of "engaging in manipulation, creating an alternative reality that flies in the face of the facts, and failing to quote Chairman Jarosław Kaczyński’s remarks in their entirety.”

Bochenek said in a statement: “Just as journalists are entitled to ask questions, so citizens, including politicians, are entitled to make statements and express their views.”

Bochenek went on to say: “Chairman Jarosław Kaczyński made his views on the matter clear. Attacks on Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak and attempts to discredit his achievements in strengthening Poland’s national defence are serving the aims of the Kremlin’s propaganda.” 

Monday is day 460 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, interia.pl