Poland’s foreign ministry Saturday issued an “urgent” summons to the Russian ambassador to protest what Warsaw termed “provocative declarations” by President Vladimir Putin.

Putin had Friday accused Warsaw of harbouring territorial ambitions in western Ukraine, an oft-repeated Russian claim, as well as by Belarus, a close Moscow ally which Putin on Friday promised to protect from possible attack.

Overseeing a national security council meeting, Putin also claimed that Polish western territories were a post-World War II “gift” from former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Polish deputy foreign minister Pawel Jablonski said the Russian ambassador was summoned following “provocative declarations by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as (following) threats and other inimical actions by the Russian Federation with regard to Poland and our allies.”

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“The meeting was very brief,” he added.

“The frontiers between countries are absolutely untouchable and Poland is opposed to any kind of revision thereof,” Jablonski declared.

Following Putin’s comments, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki late Friday tweeted that “Stalin was a war criminal responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Poles” during and after World War II.

Jablonski said Putin’s comments were “an attempt to absolve the war criminal that was Stalin by another war criminal which is Putin today.”

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The post-war settlement after 1945 saw present-day Poland moved some 300 km (185 mi) westwards compared to its pre-conflict borders.

That settlement saw the Soviet Union hold on to chunks of what had been parts of Poland which Moscow annexed in 1939 while Poland gained land which had been part of Germany.

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