Russia not invited to ceremony marking Auschwitz liberation

Soldiers hold a wreath at the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland on January 27, 2016, at the 71st anniversary of the death camp's liberation by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Soldiers hold a wreath at the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland on January 27, 2016, at the 71st anniversary of the death camp's liberation by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

The Auschwitz museum says that because of the war in Ukraine, Russia will be excluded from the upcoming ceremony marking 78 years since the Red Army liberated the Nazi death camp.

“Given the aggression against a free and independent Ukraine, representatives of the Russian Federation have not been invited to attend this year’s commemoration,” Piotr Sawicki, spokesman for the museum at the site of the former camp, tells AFP.

Friday is the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp built by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland — a date that has become International Holocaust Memorial Day.

Until now, Russia has always taken part in the commemoration held every year on January 27, with its delegate speaking at the main ceremony.

Museum director Piotr Cywinski says it was obvious that he could “sign no letter to the Russian ambassador having an inviting tone” in the current context.

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