Poland's former prime minister, Donald Tusk, has denied that Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that Russia and Poland carve up Ukraine.

That claim was made by former Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski in an interview with Politico. It sparked a huge outcry in Poland, and Sikorski almost immediately backed away from the allegations, saying his memory had failed him.

Sikorski had said the offer was made in a one-on-one meeting between Tusk and Putin in Moscow in 2008.

Tusk said Friday on Radio TOK-FM that Putin never made such an offer to him. He says Sikorski must have gotten that impression from alarming remarks Putin made at a NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 in which he said Ukraine was an artificial country and that Russia has interests there.