Russia not invited to D-Day 80th anniversary ceremonies, Élysée says

Russia will not be invited to ceremonies in France commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings next week because of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine, “which has further intensified in recent weeks,” the French presidency said Thursday.

The Élysée said Russia’s “war of aggression” in Ukraine meant there would be no Russian delegation at the events, which President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are set to attend.

French organizers had said last month that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not be invited to the commemoration in France but that some Russian officials would be in recognition of wartime Soviet sacrifices. The move reportedly riled some allies uneasy about extending an invitation to Moscow as it wages war in Ukraine and attacks Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

Heads of state and government, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, are expected in Normandy alongside World War II veterans to mark the 80th anniversary of the landings of American, British and Canadian troops on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944. The invasion helped lay the groundwork for victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

Biden will travel to Normandy and Paris from June 5 to 9 on his first state visit to France, the White House said Thursday. French President Emmanuel Macron will host Biden in Paris, where the two presidents will discuss “the need for unwavering, long-term support for Ukraine,” the Élysée said earlier.


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The Soviet Union suffered massive casualties in World War II, with an estimated 22 million people killed. Its army fought Nazi forces on the eastern front in what is known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War. Moscow has marked victory in the war in a highly politicized Victory Day with an annual military parade on Red Square.

In response to questions Thursday, the Élysée said that the ceremony would include homages to Soviet wartime contributions and that there would be “no erasure” of history. Yet the snub will be seen as a rebuke for Russia, which prides itself on its role in helping to win the war.

Putin attended the 70th-anniversary commemoration of D-Day in 2014, despite Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine months earlier. When the Russian leader was left off the invite list at the 75th anniversary in 2019, he said it was “not a problem” at the time.

“Why should I be invited everywhere?” he said. “I have enough business of my own here.”

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