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US ‘not thrilled’ France has invited Russia to D-Day commemoration – Politico

Washington would, however, “defer to the government of France” that organizes the event, a source said

The White House is “not thrilled” about France inviting Russia to take part in celebrations commemorating the anniversary of the World War II D-Day landings, Politico has reported, citing unnamed US officials.

The French organizers, Liberation Mission, said last month that they wanted Moscow to take part in the event marking 80 years since the June 6, 1944 Allied operation in Normandy. They clarified that a Russian representative, but not President Vladimir Putin, will be invited to take part in the ceremony.

Russia, which is sanctioned by the US, EU and their allies over the Ukraine conflict, will be asked to attend in order “to honor the importance of the commitment and sacrifices of the Soviet peoples, as well as its contribution to the 1945 victory” over Nazi Germany, the organizers explained.

When asked about the invite on Friday, one official from the administration of US President Joe Biden told Politico “we would defer to the government of France, which organizes the commemoration at Normandy.”

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FILE PHOTO: A military training exercise in Caylus, France.
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“Perhaps this will remind the Russians that they actually fought real Nazis once, not imaginary ones in Ukraine,” the source added sardonically.

Moscow considers the “denazification” of Ukraine as being among the main goals of the military operation that it launched in February 2022. The Russian authorities have long attracted attention to the glorification of Stepan Bandera and other Nazi collaborators by Kiev, the use of far-right military units in Donbass, and the use of Third Reich symbols by Ukrainian troops.

An unnamed British government official, who also talked to Politico, described France’s move to invite Russia to the commemoration as “disturbing,” along with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Paris earlier this month and the French ambassador’s presence at Putin’s May 7 inauguration.

The official said French President Emmanuel Macron appears to be “seeing himself above the fray and [expecting] that in the end he’s going to be some form of peace broker” on Ukraine, condemning these hopes as “completely misplaced.”

A European diplomat told the outlet that France “took everyone by surprise” when it announced plans to ask Russia to be present at the event in Normandy, which is expected to be attended by US President Joe Biden and other Western leaders.

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Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in April that the rank of the official who would represent Moscow at the D-Day celebrations would depend on “what would be in that invitation.”

The Soviet Union lost over 26.6 million lives fighting Nazi Germany in World War Two, which is known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War.

May 18, 2024 at 09:34PM

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