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On Holocaust Day, Polish PM accuses Putin of building ‘new camps’

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Douglas Emhoff (L), the Jewish husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris, attended the 78th anniversary ceremony to mark the liberation of the Nazi German death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau./AFP
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Jan 28, 2023 - 03:42 AM

Oswiecim, Poland — Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday used the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day to accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of building “new camps” while waging war against Ukraine.

“On the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, let us remember that to the east Putin is building new camps,” Morawiecki said on Facebook.

“Solidarity and consistent support for Ukraine are effective ways to ensure that history does not come full circle,” he added.

Morawiecki did not elaborate on his accusation against Russia, though it echoed a claim made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last year.

In an address in October, Zelensky spoke of Olenivka, “a concentration camp where our prisoners are kept”.

UN investigators also said last year they had documented more than 400 arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Poland on Friday marked the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau at the site of the former camp in the southern Polish city of Oswiecim.

Attendees included religious leaders, Holocaust survivors and Douglas Emhoff, the Jewish husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris.

The Auschwitz museum had earlier said that Russia had not been invited to this year’s commemoration given its “aggression against a free and independent Ukraine”.

The museum denounced the Russian offensive as a “barbaric act” on the day Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 last year.

Auschwitz-Birkenau has become a symbol of Nazi Germany’s genocide of six million European Jews, one million of whom died at the camp between 1940 and 1945 along with more than 100,000 non-Jews.

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