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24th Sep 2022

Tusk turns on former partners over Ukraine 'disgrace'

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Donald Tusk launched a blistering attack on his former EU partner countries on Friday morning (25 February), voicing his disgust at the "pretend" strength of overnight European sanctions on Russia.

Tusk, the Polish president of the EU Council until 2019 and current chair of the European People's Party — the largest group in the European Parliament — broke with normal diplomatic niceties to lambast Germany, Hungary and Italy as having "disgraced themselves."

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In an early morning tweet, just six hours after the overnight EU summit finished, Tusk wrote directly to his former - and current - colleagues: "In this war everything is real…only your sanctions are pretend.

"Those EU government's [sic], which blocked tough decisions (i.a. Germany, Hungary, Italy) have disgraced themselves."

That is an apparent reference to the split between more dovish, or so-called incrementalist, member states, and those — particularly the Baltic states — who want more immediate and complete sanctions on Moscow.

The overnight emergency summit in Brussels, which concluded at around 3AM on Friday, was split on barring Russia from international SWIFT banking transactions.

The frank outburst from Tusk is not unprecedented.

During his time at the top of the EU he grew incensed at pro-Brexit forces in the UK, and he did not hesitate to express his ire.

"I've been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted #Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely," he tweeted in 2019.

Tusk was prime minister of Poland from 2007-2014, so is well aware of the country's relationship with Russia, having himself personally overlapped with Vladimir Putin's now 22-year rule of Russia.

Last year he returned to Polish domestic politics after his Brussels stint, becoming leader of the Civic Platform centre-right liberal party.

In the remainder of his tweet, Tusk accused Putin directly of "madness and cruelty".

Poland has a land border with both Ukraine and Belarus and is expecting an influx of Ukrainian refugees from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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