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Russia ‘Bewildered’ by Poland’s World War II Commemoration Snub

Patrick Lauke / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it was baffled by Poland’s refusal to invite a Russian delegation to a commemoration ceremony marking 80 years since the start of World War II.

An aide to the Polish president said this week that Russia has not been invited to the September ceremony because of its annexation of Crimea and activities in eastern Ukraine.

“We were bewildered by the Polish leadership’s plans to organize the events … [with] Warsaw’s current ‘allies and partners,’” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

It slammed Poland for “ignoring historical logic” and being guided by “short-term political ‘priorities,’” and accused it of falsifying “the record of World War II and the postwar period.”

“Let it rest on the conscience of the current Polish authorities,” Moscow said.

In 2009, at the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in Poland, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rebuffed criticism of Moscow’s role just before the war.

Russia and former satellites including Poland disagree over the role of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1939, when he clinched a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany that paved the way for the invasion of Poland and world war.

Russians are deeply proud of their country’s victory over Hitler in 1945. But Poles, Balts and others say Stalin also bears direct responsibility for the outbreak of war, carving up Poland with Hitler and annexing the Baltic states.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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