European Council President Donald Tusk was summoned to Warsaw on Wednesday to answer questions relating to an alleged intelligence cover up during his time as Polish prime minister.
“I have no doubt that this is part of a political witch hunt,” Tusk said to reporters as he arrived in Warsaw for an eight-hour grilling over his involvement in a cooperation agreement between Poland’s military counter-intelligence service, the SKW, and Russia’s security services, the FSB.
Tusk was called to testify as a witness to the case, with the main subjects of the probe being the two Polish Generals accused of meeting with their FSB counterparts without the prime minister’s knowledge. The two generals have refused to testify, calling the investigation ‘political revenge’.
The first meeting between the generals and the FSB is alleged to have taken place in 2010 after the Smolensk plane crash, which killed 96 Polish dignitaries on their way to Russia to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the massacre of 21,000 Polish prisoners of war by the Soviet forces during WWII. Among those killed in the crash was Poland’s president Lech Kaczynski, whose twin brother Jaroslaw still leads the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS). Poland’s current opposition accuse Jaroslaw and the PiS of harbouring a vendetta against Tusk for what they see as a cover-up of the circumstances surrounding the plane crash.
Neither Polish nor Russian investigators who have looked into the crash have found any evidence of foul play, with both returning a judgement of pilot error as responsible. However, in 2015 the PiS came to power on a wave of conspiracy theories and promises to get to the truth of what really happened.
The PiS government’s feud with Tusk has spilled over into Brussels since Tusk became president of the European council.
Last month Poland tried to block Tusk’s re-election to the presidency claiming that he had used his position in Brussels to interfere in Polish politics. In the end Poland was the only country to vote against his re-election, with the bloc’s 27 other members voting in favour.
Poland has also been at odds with Europe over constitutional changes that have seen Warsaw accused of trying to undermine the independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press.
As a result, Brussels threatened Poland with sanctions but backed off last month, apparently to avoid any further crises with the bloc just as it begins to negotiate Brexit.