Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday pulled out of an upcoming event in Jerusalem marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp after being denied the opportunity to make a speech at the ceremony.
“I will be clear: We have decided that I as the Polish president will not participate in the event,” Duda said, according to France24. He added that not allowing him to publicly honor Polish victims of the Holocaust was equivalent to a “distortion of the historical truth.”
Other world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, are due to speak at the event on Jan. 23, to be held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial four days before the anniversary. Duda previously said that he would attend the ceremony if he could make a formal speech as well.
Nearly 6 million Polish citizens, half of whom were Jewish, died in World War II following the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland, reported France24.
On Jan. 27, the actual anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation, Poland will host an event at the site of the former concentration camp.
Duda is due to attend, but Putin was not invited, likely due to the outrage he sparked recently among Polish leaders by accusing Poland of conspiring with Nazi Germany and sharing responsibility for starting World War II.