Poland’s leader Mateusz Morawiecki called for “de-Putinisation” in an article in The Telegraph. He said Mr Putin’s dangeruous ideology is bolstered by “deadlier weapons” at his disposal and new media at his fingertips to spread his propaganda.
“Putin is neither Hitler nor Stalin. Unfortunately, he is more dangerous,” he wrote. “Not so long ago, Poland engaged in an information war with Russia over the genesis of the Second World War. We won; but Putin achieved his goals. He infected the internet with millions of instances of fake news.”
Giving examples of the Ukrainian cities of Bucha, Irpin and Mariupol, where streets have “run with the blood of innocents”, Mr Morawiecki said it signified the return of the “accursed ideologies” of Stalin and Hitler.
He accused the west of falling into “blissful forgetfulness” of the threats posed by Russia as Moscow continued to work to “resurrect the demons of history” in the last three decades.
He said the illusion that history cannot repeat itself “was laid bare on February 24 this year”, when Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine despite repeatedly denying the months-long military build-up on its border was to invade the neighbour.
The Polish prime minister blamed western ignorance which allowed Mr Putin to develop ideologies akin to “20th-century communism and Nazism”.
“We will lose our soul and our freedom and sovereignty” because Russia will not stop at Kyiv, he warned.
“She [Russia] has set out on a long march towards the west and it’s up to us to decide where we stop her.”
Poland, which shares a border with Ukraine, has been one of the most vocal countries to speak out against the Russian invasion and urged support for the Ukrainian army from world leaders while demanding stringent sanctions.
Warsaw has also opened its borders to millions of Ukrainian refugees who fled the besieged Ukrainian cities after Mr Putin ordered what he deemed as a “military operation” in Ukraine.
The US director of National Intelligence Avril Haines also suggested that Mr Putin’s plans would not stop with Ukraine and that he is preparing for a prolonged conflict.
She said the Russian president could fully mobilise his country or even impose martial law if he feels that things are turning against him.
“We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” Ms Haines told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
She added that Mr Putin will use nuclear weapons only if he considers Russia faces an “existential threat”.
The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.
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