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Outcry After Russian Ambassador Says Poland Shares Blame for WWII

WARSAW — Poland said on Saturday it would summon Russia's envoy after he said Warsaw was partly to blame for the outbreak of World War Two, continuing a spat which has seen the Polish ambassador in Moscow summoned twice in just over a week.

Relations between the two countries have been extremely fragile due to Russia's support for separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine. Warsaw has been one of the most vocal critics of Russia's actions — which Moscow denies — and a strong proponent of upholding economic sanctions against it.

In an interview aired by private broadcaster TVN24 on Friday evening, Russian ambassador to Poland Sergey Andreyev said Poland was partly responsible for Nazi Germany invading in 1939 because it had repeatedly blocked the formation of a coalition against Berlin in the run-up to the conflict.

Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union entered into a pact to divide the country, and Soviet troops invaded from the east after German forces invaded from the west,

Andreyev also said Polish-Russian relations were currently at their worst since 1945 because Poland had chosen to freeze political and cultural contacts.

"The Russian ambassador will be summoned to the foreign ministry on Monday so that this issue is clarified to him by a foreign ministry representative" Schetyna told reporters.

Earlier on Saturday, the Polish foreign ministry issued a statement expressing "surprise and concern" over Andreyev's remarks.

"The narrative presented by the highest official representative of the Russian state in Poland undermines historical truth and refers to the most mendacious interpretation of events, familiar from Stalinist and Communist times," it said.

Hours before the interview with Andreyev was aired, Moscow had summoned Poland's ambassador to Russia after gravestones were vandalized in a Soviet cemetery in a Polish town 20 kilometers from the Belarusian border.

The Polish foreign ministry condemned the incident on Friday. A week before the incident at the graveyard a Soviet-era statue was removed in another Polish town, which also led to the Polish ambassador being summoned by Russia's foreign ministry.