Polish President Andrzej Duda said Tuesday that he will boycott a ceremony in Israel marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp because he has not been invited to deliver a speech.
"As the [Polish] president I will not take part in the event that will take place on Jan. 23 in Jerusalem," he said.
He added that he does not approve of the fact that representatives of Russia, France, Britain, Germany and the United States will be able to speak at the event while Poland won't be able to.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and the presidents of Germany, Italy and Austria are among those who have already confirmed their participation. The British heir to the throne Prince Charles will also attend the ceremony.
Rivlin has called the even a "one of a kind" gathering devoted to the threat of anti-Semitism and passing the torch of Holocaust remembrance to "generations who will live in a world without survivors."
President Reuven Rivlin has invited Putin to be the key speaker at the event, as tensions between the two eastern European countries grow due to Putin's recent remarks accusing the Polish government of colluding with Hitler, which Polish leaders have protested as untrue.
"Essentially they colluded with Hitler. This is clear from documents, archival documents," Putin said in an emotional end-of-year speech at the defense ministry.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told Polish Radio it was "inadmissible" that Duda would not be allowed to speak during the World Holocaust Forum ceremonies at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Duda earlier indicated it was a "necessary condition" for him to be able to speak during the event and present true facts about the start of World War II and Poland's suffering because recently "lies are being said."
Poland is hosting observances marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz -Birkenau camp by the Soviet Red Army on the precise anniversary, Jan. 27, at the site of the death camp that Nazi Germany operated on occupied Polish soil.
Over 1 million people perished at the death camp, mostly European Jews, but also Poles, Roma, Russian war prisoners and others.
Poland was the first country to be invaded during World War II, attacked in September 1939 by Nazi Germany and Soviet troops.
Poland has come under scrutiny in the past for trying to whitewash the involvement of Polish nationals in war crimes committed during the Holocaust and the systematic murder of Jews during the war.
First published: 14:39 , 01.07.20