Czech Jewish community decries Putin invitation for Shoah commemorations

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The Czech Jewish community has protested as “inappropriate” an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Czech Republic President Milos Zeman issued the invitation last month. Putin has neither accepted nor rejected the invitation, according to the French news agency AFP.

Putin was invited last month along with other world leaders.

The commemorations organized by the European Jewish Congress are scheduled for Jan. 26 and Jan. 27.

“The regime Putin established and embodies doesn’t respect international treaties, is aggressive and uses its power to occupy the territory of a neighboring state,” the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic said in a statement emailed to news agencies. The statement also made a reference to Russia’s involvement in the current conflict in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has accepted an invitation to the ceremonies. President Obama has said he cannot attend, according to reports. Parliamentary leaders from some 23 countries have signaled that they will attend, according to AFP.