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In WWII dispute with Russia, Poland notes ‘atrocities’ done by Soviet Union

After Putin claimed Poland bears responsibility for war’s outbreak and days before Auschwitz liberation anniversary, Warsaw says that brought ‘decades of communist oppression’

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath laying commemoration ceremony for the 77th anniversary since the Leningrad siege was lifted during the World War II at the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery, where hundreds of thousands of siege victims are buried, in St. Petersburg, Russia, January 18, 2020. (Alexei Danichev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath laying commemoration ceremony for the 77th anniversary since the Leningrad siege was lifted during the World War II at the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery, where hundreds of thousands of siege victims are buried, in St. Petersburg, Russia, January 18, 2020. (Alexei Danichev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

WARSAW, Poland — In a continuing dispute with Russia, Poland’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday listed cultural and economic losses the country suffered after Soviet troops took control of its territory at the end of World War II.

In a series of tweets, the ministry condemned attempts at rewriting history and called on Russia to “accept its difficult past.”

The tweets were part of Poland’s reaction to Russia’s recent allegations that Poland bears some of the blame for World War II and that it has shown no recognition of the Red Army’s effort in driving the Nazis from Poland.

The ministry said the liberation brought “decades of communist oppression” and huge material losses, including looted industrial installations, natural resources and works of art, some of which remain in Russia.

“We respect soldiers’ blood sacrifice in the fight vs Nazism, but in ’45 Stalin’s regime brought (Poland) terror, atrocities and economic exploitation,” one of the tweets said.

Polish President Andrzej Duda during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2019, at the United Nations in New York City. (Don Emmert/AFP)

The bitter dispute comes just days before international ceremonies marking 75 years since January 27, 1945, when the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp that Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and other leaders are to speak at a commemorative conference January 23 in Jerusalem. Polish President Andrzej Duda decided not to attend, saying he was not invited to speak.

Putin and some other leaders will not attend the January 27 observances at the site of the former camp, the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum.

Some 1.1 million people — mostly European Jews, but also Poles, Roma, Russian prisoners of war and others — were killed in Auschwitz from 1940 to 1945.

World War II began in 1939 with Nazi German troops’ invasion of Poland, followed two weeks later by an invasion of Soviet troops. It all took place shortly after Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact that included a secret clause to jointly carve up Poland.

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