MOSCOW, May 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will meet with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Paris on June 5 to discuss a wide range of issues, including the Ukrainian crisis, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov has said.
“On June 6, Putin is expected to take part in a solemn ceremony in Deauville, Normandy, on the occasion of D-Day 70th anniversary,” he said.
Yuri Ushakov said that Vladimir Putin might have informal “stand-up” conversations with the leaders of other counties during his visit to Deauville. “Two events are planned — a reception on behalf of the French president, and then a festive ceremony on the occasion of the landing of the allied forces,” the presidential aide added.
This will be Putin’s first visit to Western Europe since the crisis in Ukraine. France invited Putin to take part in the holiday several months ago and confirmed the invitation despite the disagreements on Ukraine.After the EU summit, Hollande proposed his Russian counterpart to have a bilateral meeting in Normandy on June 6.
“I invited my Russian colleague to meet on June 6. We intend to hold consultations, including on the situation in Ukraine,” Hollande said.
“We can have different views. But I didn’t forget and will never forget that the Russian people lost millions of lives [in World War II],” French President Francois Hollande said.
President Putin “is a welcome guest at the festivities”, Hollande said.
Washington shares France’s view. US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said despite sharp disagreements on Ukraine, the US Britain, France, the Soviet Union and other countries joined in the struggle against Nazism 70 years ago.
At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on May 24, Putin said he was ready to meet with foreign leaders as part of his trip to Normandy, France, on June 6.
“If nothing changes in the French president’s schedule, I’ll come,” Putin said at a meeting with editors-in-chief of world news agencies.
“I’m not going to run from anyone. I’ll have contacts with my colleagues, including the Canadian premier,” he said.
World leaders from many countries are invited to attend the festivities. US President Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and German Chancellor Angela Merkel affirmed their decision.
Ten years ago, on June 6, 2004 the heads of state of 16 states, including Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, celebrated D-Day 60th anniversary in Cannes.