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Noisy reception for Tusk in Warsaw

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 19.04.2017 12:51
Crowds of supporters and opponents turned out to meet European Council head Donald Tusk as he arrived in Warsaw to appear as a witness in a spying probe.
Donald Tusk (C) in Warsaw on Wednesday. Photo: PAP/Bartłomiej ZborowskiDonald Tusk (C) in Warsaw on Wednesday. Photo: PAP/Bartłomiej Zborowski

Tusk, a former prime minister, will appear before prosecutors in Warsaw to answer questions in an investigation into suspected collaboration between Russian and Polish intelligence services.

Arriving in Warsaw by train, he was met by throngs of people shouting support for Tusk, who founded Poland's Civic Platform (PO), now the largest party in opposition.

Critics of Donald Tusk displayed banners showing the European Council head in prison garb. Photo: PAP/Bartłomiej Zborowski

Some critics and supporters of Poland’s ruling, conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party called for Tusk – now one of the most senior European Union officials – to face the country’s State Tribunal, Poland’s constitutional judicial body.

Amid whistles, Tusk's opponents chanted "Traitor!" and "You will serve time!"

Prosecutors in Poland are investigating an alleged secret deal between Russian and Polish intelligence services at the time when Tusk headed the government, according to media reports. Tusk will appear as a witness in the investigation on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the district Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw has previously said that Tusk has been summoned in a probe into former bosses of Poland’s Military Counterintelligence Service (SKW) allegedly cooperating with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

The FSB is Russia’s principal security agency and the main successor agency to the KGB. Relations between Moscow and Warsaw are tense while Russian intelligence services are widely seen in Poland as hostile to this country.

Poland’s Gazeta Polska Codziennie daily reported in December that Gen. Janusz Nosek and his successor as the head of the SKW, Piotr Pytel, have been accused of overstepping their powers.

Before catching the Warsaw-bound train in Sopot, northern Poland, Tusk told journalists that he believed the investigation was politically motivated.

“I would be an exception in Poland if I said that this is a neutral case, that everything here is honest, and not fraught with political emotions," he said, adding that the probe contains elements of “political persecution”.

PiS tried to block Tusk’s reelection to head the European Council, and Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło was the only EU member state leader not to support Tusk’s candidacy at a recent summit.

Various members of the PiS party, including leader Jarosław Kaczyński, have suggested that Tusk should face criminal charges in Poland related to a number of ongoing investigations, including the Amber Gold pyramid scheme which collapsed during Tusk’s term in office, as well as the preparations related to the presidential plane crash in Smolensk, western Russia, on 10 April 2010.

A total of 96 people died in the crash including president Lech Kaczyński, twin brother of PiS leader Jarosław. (rg/pk)

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