President of Russia Vladimir Putin defended the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that paved the way for the division of Poland during a press conference on Sunday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“When the USSR realised that it was left facing Hitler's Germany alone, it took steps so as to not permit a direct collision and this Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed,” Putin said in Moscow after being pressed on the matter by a German journalist.
“This pact had significance for ensuring the security of the USSR,” Putin added.
The pact, which was signed in August 1939 on the eve of World War II, was ostensibly a non-aggression agreement, but a secret protocol envisaged the carve-up of Poland between Germany and Russia, and the latter' s annexation of the Baltic states. The agreement took its name from the foreign ministers of both countries, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyachesllav Molotov.
Putin said that “Poland became a victim of its own policy,” alluding to Warsaw's annexation of a part of Czechoslovakia in October 1938.
Chancellor Merkel however condemned the pact on Sunday.
“From my point of view, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is hard to understand unless you take into consideration the extra secret protocol,” she said
“And from this point of view, I consider it was not right, it was done on an unlawful basis.”