WW2 commemorations in Gdańsk | Russian embassy in Warsaw cancels May 9 events | US and Canadian officials visit Ukraine | Polish runners take second in global race

(Fot. Grzegorz Mehring/www.gdansk.pl)

Sunday marked the 77th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender on May 8, 1945, an act that ended World War II in Europe yet began decades of communist repression in Poland.

In Gdańsk, commemorations were held at the monument to “those who defended the Polishness of Gdańsk” near Targ Rybny in the city center. Stanisław Skrzypski, president of the Gdańsk branch of the Union of War Invalids of the Republic of Poland, led a ceremony attended by residents and elected officials, including current Gdańsk Mayor Aleksandra Dulkiewicz.

In her speech, Dulkiewicz lamented that “the evil that brought so much suffering during World War II is now returning to the Ukrainian lands occupied by the Russian army.”

World War II claimed an estimated 40 to 50 million victims, the vast majority of whom were citizens of the Soviet Union. According to data from the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), between 5.6 and 5.8 million Polish citizens died during World War II, including an estimated 3 million Polish Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Although Germany surrendered in May 1945, World War II officially ended with the unconditional surrender of German ally Japan on September 2, 1945.

Source: Radio Gdańsk, PAP, Radio Poland, IPN


In a move welcomed by local and national officials, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Warsaw canceled a planned Victory Day commemoration today in Warsaw.

In its communique, the Embassy wrote that Poland’s Foreign Ministry “did not recommend” that the observations should be held. There is a large cemetery and mausoleum of Russian soldiers in Warsaw.

In contrast to other European countries, Russia celebrates May 9 as Victory Day. The day is typically marked by an elaborate military parade in Moscow and a series of speeches and commemorations featuring Russian officials.

Analysts and other Western experts have long speculated that Putin would officially declare war on Ukraine during today’s celebrations, a possibility Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov denied last week in an interview with the Moscow Times.

Source: Radio Poland, PAP, Time.com


Several political figures made surprise visits to Ukraine yesterday, including the First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

Dr. Biden, the wife of US President Joe Biden, visited Ukraine Sunday afternoon, spending two hours in Uzhgorod, a Ukrainian city on the border with Slovakia. Accompanied by her Ukrainian counterpart, First Lady Olena Zelenska, Biden focused on visiting “mothers and their children” displaced by the war, including stopping at a primary school in Uzhgorod to meet with Ukrainian schoolchildren.

During his visit to Ukraine, Trudeau visited the village of Irpin near Kyiv to “see with his own eyes” what Irpen Mayor Oleksandr Markushin described as “the horror that the Russian occupiers committed against our city.”

Trudeau later announced additional Canadian sanctions against those “complicit in Putin’s war” and further military assistance, including “drone cameras, satellite imagery, small arms, ammunition and…funding for demining operations.”

Source: PAP, Reuters


Two Polish runners beat out thousands of other participants in Poland and around the world to take second place in the annual „Wings for Life” global charity race yesterday.

The global run began simultaneously around the world at 1300 in Poland. During the race, some 8,000 participants were “chased” through the streets of Poznań by a “Catcher Car” driven by Polish ski-jumping legend Adam Małysz. Runners “caught” by the car were then out of the race. Those unable to travel to Poznań could also participate via the help of a custom phone app, also voiced by Małysz.

Over 160,000 participants worldwide joined this year’s race, raising funds to support spinal cord injuries research. First place in the men’s category went to Japan’s Jo Fukuda, who ran 64.4 km. Nina Zarina of the USA took first in the women’s category with a distance of 56 km. They were followed by Poland’s Dariusz Nóżyński and Patrycja Talar.

Source: Rado Poland, wingsforlifeworldrun.com


Weather

Today will be a mix of sun and clouds with a strong breeze coming in from the northeast and very little chance of rain. Temperatures will be slightly cooler than yesterday, with a high around 12°C, or 53°F, dropping to an overnight low of 4°C or 39°F. Tomorrow is set to be pleasantly warm and sunny, with a chance for rain returning midweek.

Elizabeth Peck

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