Putin talks ‘like negotiating with Hitler,’ Polish president says

Andrzej Duda criticises French and German leaders over phone calls with Russian president

<p>Poland’s president has claimed talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin are like negotiating with Adolf Hitler</p>

Poland’s president has claimed talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin are like negotiating with Adolf Hitler

Poland’s president has compared talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to negotiating with Adolf Hitler.

Andrzej Duda criticised the leaders of France and Germany for having phone calls with the Russian president, saying the conversations were akin to speaking to the Nazi dictator during the Second World War, according to the German tabloid Bild.

His remarks came after French president Emmanuel Macron said over the weekend that “we must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means”.

Both the French leader and German chancellor Olaf Scholz have held one-to-one phone calls with Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February.

Mr Duda, in an interview with Bild first released on its YouTube channel late on Wednesday, said such discussions only legitimised an illegal war in Ukraine.

He said: “Did anyone speak like this with Adolf Hitler during World War Two?

“Did anyone say that Adolf Hitler must save face? That we should proceed in such a way that it is not humiliating for Adolf Hitler? I have not heard such voices.”

The conflict in Ukraine, described by Moscow as a “special military operation” to stamp out perceived threats to its security, has flattened cities, killed thousands of civilians and forced more than seven million people to flee the country.

Ukraine and its Western allies say Russia is waging an unprovoked war to grab territory.

In a joint call with Putin on 28 May, Mr Scholz and Mr Macron urged him to release the 2,500 Ukrainian fighters captured at Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant and to speak directly with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the French president’s Elysee Palace.

Italy and Hungary have urged the European Union to call explicitly for a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks with Russia, putting themselves at odds with other member states like Poland determined to take a hard line with Moscow

Last month, Mr Zelensky savaged suggestions by some in the West that Kyiv give up territory and make concessions to end the war, saying the idea smacked of attempts to appease Nazi Germany in 1938 in the run-up to the Second World War.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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