Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski confirmed that he will not attend Moscow's Victory Day celebration on May 9 due to the Ukraine crisis, Russian state news agency TASS reported.
"There is no way that the president of Poland would partake in this celebration … amid the continuing war in Ukraine," Komorowski was quoted as saying on a Polish television news broadcast.
In announcing his decision, Komorowski joins the ranks of several Western leaders who have said recently, amid soaring tensions between Russia and the West, that they would not attend the festivities honoring the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany.
U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the leaders of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Israel are expected to skip the celebration for reasons similar to those espoused by Komorowski.
Conversely, Russia's Asian allies — Chinese President Xi Jinping, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and even reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — are expected to attend the festivities.
Moscow also expects to see new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the celebration, as Athens has traditionally sent a representative to the annual event, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments carried by RIA Novosti last month.
Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told TASS in December that the leaders of "all countries that participated in the anti-Hitler coalition" had been invited.
Russia's annexation from Ukraine of the Crimean Peninsula, as well as Russia's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, has brought its relations with many Western countries to a post-Cold War nadir.