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22 Mar 2017

Poland accuses Tusk of illegally dealing with Putin

The president of the European Union Council, Donald Tusk, has been accused by the Polish Defense ministry of collaborating with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to harm Polish interests. The accusation is associated with the presidential airplane crash in Smolensk in 2010, in which president Lech Kaczynski and 95 high ranking officials of the Polish government were killed.

The Polish defense ministry notified the military department of the National Prosecutor’s Office that it suspects Tusk, the then prime minister of the Baltic country, for an “abuse of trust in foreign relations.” The Defense ministry accused Tusk of not fulfilling his duties and failing to ensure Poland taking part in the investigation. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office commented that they had received the notification and that there is a 30-day time limit to decide whether there will be an investigation or not.

This is the latest move in the brawl between Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) ruling party and the re-elected president of the European Council. Poland found itself isolated from other EU countries, when it tried to stop Tusk from getting re-elected in the position, against the will of all other EU countries. Beata Szydlo, the Polish prime minister, accused Tusk of interfering in Polish internal matters and threatened to veto his candidacy. Despite the Polish aggression towards him, Tusk enjoyed the support of Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande and he will continue serving the EU in the same position.

President of PiS is Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother of Lech Kaczynski who died in the air crash of Smolensk. Kaczynski holds Donald Tusk “morally responsible” for the death of his brother. The Polish Defense minister, Antoni Macierewicz, said in an interview for Gazeta Polska Codzienne that “Donald Tusk had an illegal agreement with Vladimir Putin and must answer for it to Polish Justice. No position, whether it be in Poland or the EU, should exempt Donald Tusk from responsibility for the crimes that he is suspected of committing.”

Poland has hinted that it will take a harder stance towards the EU and has already denied to sign off the March European Council conclusions, this way creating an uneasy diplomatic backdrop. Tusk commented on the accusations: “this is not a matter of legal or political nature, it is purely about emotions and obsessions. Therefore, it is not within my competence to comment on cases like this one.” The president of the European Council has frequently denied any responsibility for the airplane crash in Smolensk, which an earlier official investigation concluded that it was an accident.