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Russian Foreign Ministry summons Israeli ambassador

The Israeli ambassador to Moscow has been summoned to clarify his country’s position on Russia’s participation in the international project for the memorial complex at the Sobibor death camp

MOSCOW, August 17. /TASS/. Israeli Ambassador to Moscow Gary Koren has been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to clarify his country’s position on Russia’s participation in the project to build a museum on the grounds of the Sobibor Nazi death camp in eastern Poland, the embassy’s spokesman Alex Gandler told TASS on Thursday.

According to Gandler, the ambassador confirmed that "the Israeli Foreign Ministry supports Russia’s participation in the international management committee for the reconstruction of the Sobibor death camp museum."

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that the ambassadors of Israel and a number of European countries had been summoned to the ministry "for a serious conversation" in light of the international committee’s decision not to include Russia in the Sobibor museum project.

The Sobibor extermination camp operated from May 1942 to October 1943. According to various estimates, over this period of time, 150,000 to 250,000 Jews from Poland and other European countries were suffocated in gas chambers. The camp was shut down after an inmate uprising led by Soviet officer Alexander Pechersky.

Russia was invited to take part in the project to renovate the Sobibor museum and memorial in 2013. The project had been initiated by Poland, Israel, Holland and Slovakia, whose representatives comprise the organizing committee. Russia accepted the invitation and expressed readiness to make a significant financial contribution, but the further consultations with Poland concerning Russia’s participation produced no results. In July, news came that a decision had been made to carry on with the project without Russia involved.