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Putin defends pre-war Nazi-Soviet pact

'What is wrong here if the Soviet Union did not wish to fight?' the Russian president is reported to have said

Published: Updated:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended the 1939 non-aggression pact signed between the Soviet Union and Nazis on the eve of World War Two - which led to the carve-up of Poland between the two powers.

Instead, Britain and France were to blame for Hitler’s invasion of Europe, Putin suggested at a meeting with young historians in Moscow, London-based newspaper The Telegraph reported on Thursday.

“They [Western powers] continue to argue over the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and accuse the Soviet Union of dividing Poland,” transcripts from the meeting show Putin as saying.

“Such methods were part of foreign policy at that time. The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. They say: ‘Oh, how bad.’ What is wrong here if the Soviet Union did not wish to fight? What is wrong with this?” he added.

Putin is reported to have said that historians often attempt to “hush up” the 1938 Munich Agreement, in which Britain and France agreed to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s occupation of parts of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland.

However, in 2009, Putin called the same Nazi-Soviet pact as “immoral,” UK-based daily The Independent reported.

Days after this agreement with the Soviets, Hitler then invaded Poland. Due to the Nazi-Soviet treaty, Russia did not post a threat to Germany.

Then, when Britain and France - despite being Poland’s allies - declared war on Germany, they could not offer support to the threat of both German and Soviet troops in Poland.

Critics of Putin’s rule claim that such comments are attempts to use history as a means of consolidating the his power, according to The Telegraph.