Putin Won't Go to Auschwitz for 70th Anniversary

Event commemorating 70 years since the Red Army liberated the death camp to conspicuously lack Putin, who allegedly wasn't invited.

Arutz Sheva Staff, | updated: 13:22

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend ceremonies in Poland for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp, his spokesman said.

A trip to Poland "is not on the Russian president's agenda," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP, without giving any reason.

Putin did not receive any formal invitation, Peskov told the Interfax news agency, adding however that the Kremlin understood that no official invitations were sent out.

The liberation of Auschwitz will be marked at the camp, now a museum, on January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The main ceremony in front of the camp's gates will be led by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Putin's absence will be particularly noticeable since the camp was liberated by the Soviet Red Army on January 27, 1945.

Relations between Russia and the West have plunged to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War over Moscow's alleged role in the Ukraine crisis, with Putin getting a frosty reaction from Western leaders on the international stage.

The Russian president may attend major commemorative events in the Czech Republic, however, Peskov added.

Putin "received the invitation but the decision has not yet been taken," Peskov told AFP.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic has opposed Putin's presence at ceremonies organized by the European Jewish Congress in Prague and the town of Terezin on January 26 and 27.

The federation said in December the Russian leader was not welcome because the regime he "embodies... doesn't respect international treaties, is aggressive abroad and uses its power to occupy the territory of a neighbouring state."

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Junker has confirmed he will go to the Czech Republic, as have the parliamentary leaders of 23 countries.

US President Barack Obama said he could not go, but Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko is expected to attend.

Some 1.1 million people from around Europe -- about one million of whom were Jews -- perished in the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940 and 1945.

Russia this year on May 9 will host major celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. Those invited include Obama and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.




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