US vice president Mike Pence and Russian President Vladimir arrived early Thursday to join the 49 world leaders attending ceremonies in Jerusalem marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by the Red Army. It is the largest diplomatic event ever to have taken place in Israel. The main ceremony of commemoration is to be held in at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center on Thursday afternoon, dedicated alike to remembrance and fighting antisemitism.
During the day, Pence and Putin will hold talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He will also accompany the Vice President on a visit to the Western Wall. The Russian leader and Netanyahu are to dedicate the Monument in Memory of the Heroism of the Soldiers and Residents in the WWII Siege of Leningrad” at the capital’s Sacher Park.
Putin also plans to visit Bethlehem to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas whom Britain’s Prince Charles and French President Emmanuel Macron have also arranged to call on before they leave.
Most world leaders participating in the event arrived on Wednesday and attended the formal dinner at the presidential residence, at which King Felipe of Spain was the keynote speaker. More than 11,000 police personnel are on duty to secure the visitors and keep roads open for their convoys in Jerusalem.