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WARSAW: Poland’s defence minister said Friday that Russian leader Vladimir Putin had “zero credibility” despite denying any intent to invade Poland amid Moscow’s two-year assault on neighbouring Ukraine.

Tensions have long been strained between Poland and Russia but deteriorated further after Warsaw threw its weight behind Kyiv in its efforts to fight off Russia’s invasion.

In an interview released Thursday with US journalist Tucker Carlson, Putin said it was “out of the question” for Russia to invade Poland or Latvia.

“We have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else. Why would we do that? We simply don’t have any interest. It’s just threat mongering,” Putin said.

Asked about Putin’s comments, Polish Defence Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said there was “zero credibility” to Putin’s claim.

“Nothing can make us let down our guard... and such words certainly do not cause this, on the contrary,” Kosiniak-Kamysz told reporters on Friday.

Poland, a NATO and EU member, shares an extensive border with Russia’s ally Belarus and with Kaliningrad, the heavily armed Russian exclave.

“The more someone repeats that something is not planned, the more suspicious you must be, especially with such words,” said Kosiniak-Kamysz, who is also Poland’s deputy prime minister.

In a two-hour interview with Carlson, a former host of the right-wing Fox News network, Putin also said that Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939, which marked the start of World War II, was due to Warsaw being “intractable”.

The claim drew a sharp rebuke from Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who branded Putin a “Russian dictator”.

“We are used to paranoid justifications for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022,” Sikorski said on social media.

“What’s shocking is that this time they are enabled by an American journalist,” Sikorski said.

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