Yves here. ZOMG, this is delicious. Duda spoke for over seven minutes to comedians pretending to be Macron. Duda made some admissions that aren’t going over so well.
You would think after Macron was naughty and had some reporters in the room with him during a conversation with Putin, that other national leaders might assume that a call with Macron was not private. That level of caution might have reduced the damage.
By John Helmer who has been the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to have directed his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. Originally published at Dances with Bears
In a telephone conversation on November 15, shortly after the Ukrainian missile explosion at Przewodów, Polish President Andrzej Duda (lead image, left) said in a secret telephone call with French President Emmanuel Macron: “Believe me, I’m very careful, I don’t blame the Russians. Emmanuel, this is war. I think both sides will blame each other for this war…Do you think I need a war with Russia? No, I don’t want that. I don’t want a war with Russia, I’m extremely careful, believe me. I am extremely careful.”
Duda was implying he did not believe the Ukrainian President, Vladimir Zelensky’s claim, which he also repeated to Macron, that the missile attack had been launched by Russia.
The telephone call lasted for 7 minutes 31 seconds and was conducted in English. Duda did not realise he was not talking to Macron until later. The Polish president took a week before revealing publicly that there had been a telephone call. That disclosure on the Chancellery’s twitter account did not disclose what had been said, and misrepresented how the conversation ended. This was triggered only after Vovan and Lexus, the two skilled Russian spoof artists, had published their tape-recording in Moscow.
The tape-recording can be listened to here; it was first aired on Tuesday, November 22, between 8 and 8:30 in the morning, Moscow time, with Russian subtitles and voiceover. Listen to the original English-language version here. The first Russian press report was published at 12:36 pm Moscow time. Duda’s office posted two tweets in succession at 1:52 pm, Moscow time.
Polish sources in Warsaw say the telephone call, and the week-long delay between Duda’s conversation and his disclosure tweets, raise grave questions about Poland’s national security and sovereignty. Duda, comments one of the sources, “seems to be lying. The Rutube tape shows a complete conversation, with goodbyes, and not an abrupt ‘end of the call’.”
In the absence of mainstream Polish media coverage, Stanislas Balcerac, an independent Warsaw analyst, says the Polish intelligence services are revealed as incompetent for failing to detect the impersonation before Duda began talking – or for allowing the president to be fooled into making his admissions in reaction to the Przewodów attack, particularly the dependence Duda acknowledged on US “experts” for knowing what had happened.
“The question arises,” Balcerac reported last August, “whether it is really impossible to find competent and intelligent people in Poland. Or is the problem deeper and lies in the assumptions of the Third Polish Republic, a country which, having ‘regained its independence’, was to be independent in theory, but in fact is played by the special services of stronger neighbours?” Balcerac was implying that the German BND and US CIA are running their own factions inside the Polish services.
A NATO military veteran comments that Duda was “definitely nervous. You’d think he’s worried that he’s talking to someone faking for Moscow or for someone else, or that that the CIA or someone else is listening in.”
Moscow sources have commented on the week-long delay before Vovan and Lexus made the tape public. Long enough, they suspect, for the Russian Stavka to analyse Duda’s remarks; decide if the president is being kept in the dark by the Polish military and security services; and arrange secret messages to Warsaw for as long as Duda was capable of keeping the secret.
The tape-recording reveals that President Duda accepted President Macron’s identity from the beginning to the end of the conversation. “Hello Emmanuel. Thank you, thank you for your call”, Duda opened. When the Macron voice said he was tired and concluded the conversation, Duda ended the call by saying: “Thank you. Thank you. Have a nice day.”
Duda’s tweet on November 22 that he “realized from the unusual way the interlocutor conducted the conversation that there might have been a fraud attempt and ended the conversation” is false.
The acronym KPRP used in the tweet refers to the president’s committee for national security and defense affairs and is roughly equivalent to the US National Security Council (NSC).
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), reporting the Rutube recording and Duda’s tweet, claimed “eventually, as the caller continued to push Mr Duda on his thoughts on Mr Zelensky, the Polish president ended the call.” This is a lie.
Duda’s hesitancy was evident throughout the conversation; and he repeated himself to Macron for emphasis. The Polish president reads and speaks English but he is hesitant to use English in official conversation.
Duda began the call by telling Macron the missile had been “launched we don’t know by whom and launched somewhere in der, in der, in the East”. He described the weapon as a “probably Russian missiles produced by Russia.” Asked explicitly to say if US President Joseph Biden blames Russia for firing it, Duda replied: “Nooooh.”
He told Macron he had already spoken that evening to NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenbereg, Biden, and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky; Duda referred personally to the latter two by their first names; the NATO official Duda identified by his full name. “I don’t know, I don’t know,” Duda replied to the question of who had fired the missile. He went on to say that Biden was sending US experts to Poland “to support and help our experts… I am waiting for the result of their [US investigation].”
Polish, NATO and Russian sources comment that Duda did not mention, nor did he appear to have been briefed on the Polish radar evidence of the missile launch, recorded at Labunie, about 40 kilometres from the missile strike at Przewodów. As the Polish air defence radars are also integrated with NATO and US regional commands, it appears that neither Stoltenberg nor Biden told Duda what their military intelligence reports were already showing from the radars, from the Germany-based NATO AWACS patrols, and from US satellites. “Headless Poland”, a Warsaw source commented.
“Volodymyr”, Duda said on the telephone, referring to Zelensky, “blames Russians and he is absolutely sure that it was [a] Russian missile launched by Russians, and, and, and he said that there is no possibility that, that, that it was, der, der, der, der missile launched by, er, launched by Ukrainians. That was what, er, he said that to me.”
“Emmanuel, I am — believe me — I am extra careful”, Duda replied to the question of whether he accepts Zelensky’s requests for more weapons. “I don’t blame Russian – Emmanuel, you know, believe me, this is war, and I think that both sides will, will, will accuse an other side of this war, yes.”
He added later in passing “there is no clear evidence this was S300, according to our [Polish] investigators.” When asked why the Polish foreign minister, Zbigniew Rau, appeared to be blaming Moscow for the missile attack, Duda corrected Rau by saying the missile was “Russian produced”.
Duda was emphatic there has been no attack on Polish territory to warrant invocation of the NATO Article Five provision. Explaining how this all-for-one-one-for-all proviso applied to the Przewodow incident, the Washington Post claimed on November 16 there was “speculation” that the Polish government might invoke either Article Five or Article Four. And that “as of Wednesday [November 16], there was no indication Poland had done so.” The Post’s US government sources were concealing what Biden and Duda had agreed two days before.
“Believe me, I’m very careful,” Duda repeated to Macron. “I think we don’t need an escalation, an escalation between NATO and Russia….I don’t want Article Five…We don’t need it…Do you think I want to have war with Russia. I don’t want a war with Russia, I’m extremely careful, believe me.”
First Russian press source: https://www.rbc.ru/
The first German press source was the state public radio Deutschlandfunk which posted this on the evening of November 22. The German radio emphasized that Duda had been deceived by a Russian trick, and it omitted to quote most of what Duda had said. “The duo [Vovan and Lexus] fooled Duda in the conversation published on the platform Rutube that he was talking to French President Macron. The presidential administration confirmed this on Twitter.” Unlike the British propaganda organ BBC, the German radio gave its listeners the direct URL link so that they could listen to the Duda-Macron conversation for themselves. A Warsaw source commented late in the Warsaw evening: “One has to move to Germany to read about Duda's stunt”.
The Kremlin website indicates that President Vladimir Putin has said nothing publicly about the Polish incident.
In a state press agency report Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, responded on the evening of November 16 to US claims about what had happened: “Americans speak in the paradigm of ‘if there were no such-and-such, then there would not be this.’ Then it makes sense to rewind. And we will see the root cause of everything — this is NATO and the United States at the head.”
Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president now deputy secretary of the Security Council, announced on his Telegram channel, two days before the Council met on November 18: “Afterword to the hysteria of the Kiev vassals about their retaliatory strike against Poland. That’s what haunts me. If a Ukrainian anti–aircraft missile had hit the [US] Capitol directly, would it have been a zrada [Ukrainian word, “betrayal”] or a peremoga [Ukrainian, “victory”]?”. The official Russian Security Council communiqué, dated 1:30 pm on November 18, said “the participants discussed improving civil defence.” If this was intended irony by reference to Polish civil defence around Przewodów, it has escaped almost everyone.
Source: Left, RIA News Agency, November 16 at 10:53 pm. Centre: Foreign Ministry, November 17 at 5:56 pm. Right: Kremlin, November 18 at 1:30 pm.
The day after Peskov’s and Medvedev’s public comments, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ivan Nechayev, issued this comment, avoiding any referenceto Polish officials: “I want to stress that, immediately after the incident claiming two lives was reported, the Russian Defence Ministry issued a comment that the Russian Armed Forces had nothing to do with the missiles that fell on Polish territory. We noted the completely anti-Russia and Russophobic reaction from representatives of several NATO countries and media outlets. They immediately, as if at someone’s bidding (maybe they had been preparing), accused Russia, before any investigation was conducted and the cause of the incident was established. It was not the first time such a response had been given. The collective West is known for using this tactic, hurling unsubstantiated accusations at Russia without thoroughly investigating the incident. We want to note that Kiev also makes unsupported allegations against Russia whenever such opportunity arises, expressing its anti-Russia stance. Perhaps now the Kiev regime will think twice. Its Western curators are starting to get annoyed. Russia insists on a comprehensive investigation into this incident and disclosing its outcome. Russia insists on a comprehensive investigation into this incident and disclosing its outcome.”
In the same briefing, the Foreign Ministry issued this statement on the attack against the Russian Embassy in Warsaw which occurred on November 12, three days before the Przewodów attack. Note Nechayev’s reference to the proximity of President Duda’s residence.
“In the early hours of November 12, unknown individuals attempted to attack our diplomatic mission in Warsaw twice, by throwing flares and bottles with a combustible substance over the fence of the Embassy. The police watched passively what was happening and did not try to detain the attacker. The situation when a foreign diplomatic mission in the very centre of the Polish capital, in close proximity to other protected facilities such as the National Defence Ministry and the residences of the president and prime minister of Poland, is attacked in a very dangerous way and the attack goes unpunished, causes extreme concern and indicates a gross violation of Warsaw’s obligations stipulated by international law to protect the premises of diplomatic missions from any intrusion or damage. We call on Poland to ensure the safety of Russian diplomatic and consular missions in their country and guarantee the inviolability of our foreign missions from unlawful actions. We demand that the competent Polish authorities investigate the incident and bring those responsible to account.”
There is a debate in Moscow over how much of an American stooge (lead image, right) Polish officials like President Duda are in the present situation. A well-informed Moscow source believes that the telephone transcript confirms Duda’s impotence. “The only thing it tells is that Macron is the voice of scepticism and reason in the whole [NATO] group but that Duda does not react to the doubts about Zelensky. He is peddling Zelensky line.”