Russian President Vladimir Putin has marked Holocaust Remembrance Day by once again attempting to rewrite history and frame his own genocidal, imperialistic invasion of Ukraine as a fight against "neo-Nazis".
"Forgetting the lessons of history leads to the repetition of terrible tragedies," Putin said in a statement released on Friday, Jan. 27.
While ignoring all the evidence of crimes against civilians, ethnic cleansing and punitive actions organised by Russian forces in Ukraine, he added: "This is evidenced by the crimes against civilians, ethnic cleansing and punitive actions organised by neo-Nazis in Ukraine.”
He added: "It is against that evil that our soldiers are bravely fighting."
Friday is the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp built by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland – a date that has since become Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Auschwitz Museum did not invite Russian representatives to the ceremony marking the event because of the war in Ukraine.
"Russia will need an extremely long time and very deep self-examination after this conflict in order to return to gatherings of the civilised world," Piotr Sawicki, a spokesman for the museum at the site of the former camp, told AFP.
Putin added that "attempts to revise the contributions of our country to the Great Victory (against Hitler) actually equates to justifying the crimes of Nazism and opens the way for the revival of its deadly ideology."
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky marked Holocaust Remembrance Day by urging the world to unite against "indifference" and "hatred," nearly one year into Russia's invasion of his country.
"Today, as always, Ukraine honours the memory of millions of victims of the Holocaust. We know and remember that indifference kills along with hatred," Zelensky said in a video statement.
Zelensky, who is of Jewish descent himself and from the pre-dominantly Russian-speaking south of the country, did not refer directly to Russia's invasion in his address.
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