Putin planning to skip 70th liberation ceremonies at Auschwitz

Marcy Oster

BERLIN (JTA) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is not planning to attend ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Red Army soldiers.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told the Russia news agency Interfax on Tuesday that a trip to Poland was not on Putin’s schedule for Jan. 27, the day of the scheduled ceremonies at the former concentration camp. But Peskov emphasized that the Russian government has always considered such memorial events, including this one, to be extremely important.

The ceremonies are being organized by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the International Auschwitz Council, and not by the Polish government, and no official invitations were sent out, Peskov said.

The guest list, which was released Tuesday, includes the Russian ambassador to Poland, the presidents of Germany, Austria and France, and both royal and state representatives from Belgium and Holland. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski will be officiating.

Putin reportedly has been invited to attend ceremonies being held in Prague at the same time.