WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Polish ruling party leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, has paid 50,000 zlotys ($11,500) to the Ukrainian army to settle a defamation case with a political rival.
Kaczyński was ordered by a court in December to pay Radek Sikorski more than 700,000 zlotys ($162,000) to cover the costs of publishing an apology for calling him a “diplomatic traitor.”
Kaczyński made the comment in 2016 in connection to the 2010 plane crash near Smolensk, Russia, that killed Kaczynski’s brother, then-President Lech Kaczyński, and 95 others. Sikorski was foreign minister at the time of the disaster and is now a member of the European Parliament.
Sikorski belongs to Civic Platform, a party that has been in opposition since 2015. Kaczyński has long accused Civic Platform leaders of having a role in his brother’s death, a claim not substantiated by investigations to date.
Kaczyński said the court’s penalty was so high that he would have to sell his house to pay it, and that even then he might not have enough.
Sikorski then said that he believed “that the penalties for defamation should be severe but not ruinous.” He said if Kaczyński paid 50,000 zlotys to Ukraine’s armed forces he would refrain from demanding an apology.
Kaczynski said in a statement on Tuesday that he had paid the money.
“Today Ukraine is fighting for its independence and freedom, but also for our security. We support it and we will support it. Since the payment to the support fund of the Ukrainian Armed Forces closes my controversial dispute with (Sikorski), I do so with satisfaction,” Kaczyński said in a statement published on Twitter.
Sikorski said he accepted that form of apology, adding “I’m glad we found a patriotic solution.”