Putin to attend D-Day ceremony amidst Ukraine crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend ceremonies in France next month marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day despite the Ukraine crisis, the ambassador to Paris said Thursday.

AFP| Updated: May 08, 2014, 18:26 PM IST

Paris: Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend ceremonies in France next month marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day despite the Ukraine crisis, the ambassador to Paris said Thursday.

"President Putin has been invited by President (Francois) Hollande to take part in the ceremonies to commemorate the Normandy landings on June 6. He has accepted the invitation. He will be coming on June 6," Alexander Orlov told BFM television.

Hollande had said earlier that Putin was welcome in Normandy despite the standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

"We may have differences with Vladimir Putin but I have not forgotten and will never forget that the Russian people gave millions of lives" during World War II, he told France 2 television.

"I told Vladimir Putin that as the representative of the Russian people, he is welcome to the ceremonies."

Western leaders including US President Barack Obama and Britain`s Queen Elizabeth are also due to attend the events on June 6 to commemorate the Normandy landings that marked the beginning of the liberation of continental Europe from the Nazis in World War II.
The West has taken some steps to punish Moscow a over its stance on Ukraine, a former Soviet republic where pro-Russian rebels are fighting in the restive east.
The West has imposed a number of sanctions and in March, Western powers cancelled a G8 summit with Russia planned for June and replaced it with a G7 meeting to be held in Brussels.