Russian envoy visits Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

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Russian envoy visits Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

On August 4th, the Russian ambassador to Japan Mikahil Galuzin offers flowers to the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. Jun Ueda HIROSHIMA Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin made an unannounced visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on August 4, two days before the city hosts a service dedicated to victims of the atomic bombing.

The visit came despite the fact that representatives from Moscow were excluded from the official ceremony this year.

Galuzin, along with about 20 officials, offered flowers to the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims in the park at around 10: 10 a.m.

The Hiroshima city government said it had not been notified about his visit and wouldn't say anything about it.

The city has opted not to invite Russia to the memorial ceremony this year marking the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing on Hiroshima on August 6, citing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Asked by reporters about the purpose of his visit, Galuzin said in Japanese that I want to offer prayers to the victims who perished in the war crime committed by the United States by dropping an atomic bomb, express condolences to their relatives and hope for the survivors health. The ambassador said he is visiting Hiroshima to explain that his country is making aggressive efforts on nuclear disarmament and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Galuzin ruled out Russia's use of nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine, and blasted the city government's decision not to invite Russian representatives to the memorial ceremony.

He said Russia is a leader in global efforts toward nuclear disarmament and that it ignores it completely.

In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin shocked the world when he made a veiled threat against any country that would interfere in the conflict. Russia recently took up an anti-nuclear war message.

It has been a longstanding practice for Hiroshima city officials to ask leaders of nuclear powers, their ambassadors and other dignitaries in Japan to attend the memorial service.

Russia sent its ambassador to the service in 2000, a first among major nuclear powers. Over the past several years, it has sent its representatives to attend.

The Hiroshima city government announced in May that it would not extend invitations to Russia and Belarus, which is in a military alliance with Moscow, citing a consultation with the central government over the matter.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui stated that the city was concerned that other countries might pass up attending if the two countries were included in the invitation list.

Galuzin reacted strongly to the decision, calling it shameful on social media.

The ambassador was expected to give a speech on nuclear weapons at a round table conference jointly hosted by the Russian Embassy and an ethnic nationalist group called Issuikai in Hiroshima in the afternoon of August 4.

Ruslan Esin, a Belarussian ambassador to Japan, denounced the exclusion of his country from the ceremony when he visited Hiroshima last month.

He said the decision went too far. There are several factors that should be taken into account. Esin was visiting the city to meet municipal officials as he finished his five-year ambassadorship to Japan. He offered flowers at the cenotaph during his visit on July 21.