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French leftist criticizes Hollande’s absence from Russia’s WWII commemorations

May 06, 2015, 13:55 UTC+3 PARIS
The leader of the Left Front party said France should take no account of the current conflict between Russian and Ukrainian people
1 pages in this article
 Jean-Luc Melenchon

Jean-Luc Melenchon

© EPA/IAN LANGSDON

PARIS, May 6. /TASS/. French left-wing party leader Jean-Luc Melenchon has sharply criticised President Francois Hollande for declining invitation to attend Russia's 70th anniversary commemoration of the Allied victory in World War Two.

Melenchon, leader of the Left Front party and member of the European parliament, on Wednesday told French television news channel BFMTV: "That's a shame. We should take no account of the current conflict between Russian and Ukrainian people. We should remember that the people of Russia, the Soviet people have lost 20 million lives to defeat Nazism."

"Certainly, representatives of other countries, both British people and Americans, have also been killed in that battle. But Russia suffered some of the heaviest losses," Melenchon said. "We should not forget also that it was the Red Army that liberated 13 out of 17 European countries occupied."

The French politician emphasised the need "to remain faithful to historical memory".

"It is definitely not normal that France, which earlier hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin during commemorations of the D-Day Normandy landings, will not be represented by its leader, the president of the country, at celebrations in Moscow marking the victory over the most horrific regime on the planet, guilty of mass extermination of people because of their race," Melenchon said.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday he was due to join Moscow’s World War Two commemorations. He said he would not take part in the traditional military parade on Red Square, but would attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a reception in the Kremlin.

Fabius also explained that President Hollande would not be able to come to Moscow because of his visit to Cuba.

It is 70 years since the Soviet and Allied armies defeated Nazi Germany in 1945.

The Russian government has sent dozens of invitations to foreign leaders to its commemorative events.

The Kremlin said last week about thirty foreign heads of state and government as well as chiefs of international organisations had confirmed their presence at Moscow’s commemorations.

Among those expected to attend are leaders of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, India, South Africa, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika Srpska), Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Macedonia, Mongolia, Cuba, Cyprus, Palestine, Serbia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that due to the tight schedules of their visits to Moscow far from all of the mentioned leaders would be able to attend the May 9 Victory Day parade. Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Czech President Milos Zeman have notified organisers of the event they will not be present there.

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