Poland's speaker backs down from claim Putin proposed dividing Ukraine

Poland's parliamentary speaker Radoslaw Sikorski speaks during a media conference at the parliament in Warsaw on Oct 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Poland's parliamentary speaker Radoslaw Sikorski speaks during a media conference at the parliament in Warsaw on Oct 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WARSAW (REUTERS) - The speaker of Poland's parliament, Radoslaw Sikorski, said on Tuesday he had mis-remembered when he told an interviewer that Russian President Vladimir Putin had proposed that Warsaw and Moscow occupy Ukraine and divide it between them.

In an interview with U.S. website Politico dated Oct 19, Sikorski said that Putin had made the proposal to Donald Tusk, who at the time was Polish prime minister, during a 2008 meeting between the two leaders in Moscow.

"There was an over-interpretation in the text and my memory failed me, because after a check it was revealed that there was no such meeting in Moscow between Tusk and Putin," said Sikorski, who served until last month as foreign minister.

"It's natural for a human being to get ahead of oneself and this was the case here," Sikorski, who is married to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum, told a specially-convened news conference.