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Around 30 world leaders to attend Victory Day celebrations in Moscow — Kremlin

Not all guests will be able to attend the Victory Day Parade on May 9
Victory Day parade in 2014 ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Japaridze
Victory Day parade in 2014
© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Japaridze

MOSCOW, April 30. /TASS/. About thirty foreign heads of state and government as well as chiefs of international organizations have confirmed their participation in festive events on the occasion of the 70th V-Day anniversary in Moscow, presidential press-secretary Dmitry Peskov said, adding that as the date drew near, the list might be revised.

"About 30 foreign heads of state and government, as well as chiefs of international organizations, plan to take part in events on May 8-10 timed for the 70th anniversary of the victory [over Nazi Germany]," Peskov said.

So far participation has been confirmed by the presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Also, the Russian capital will welcome the Chinese president, "who will pay a separate official visit" to Russia, the leader of Cuba, the presidents of India, South Africa, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Macedonia, and Mongolia, as well as the leaders of Cyprus, Palestine, Serbia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic and the German chancellor. The heads of the United Nations and UNESCO will be present, too.

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 parade in Red Square. Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Czech President Milos Zeman will be unable to attend the main event.

Peskov said France’s President Francois Hollande was not coming to Moscow, as he would be too busy.

"There are no plans for Hollande’s visit. As far as I know, he is to make other scheduled trips, so his visit is not on the agenda," Peskov said.

Nor does the Kremlin expect the arrival of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko for an informal meeting of the CIS leaders, due on V-Day’s eve, May 8. "Poroshenko will not be here," Peskov said, adding that some other CIS presidents would be absent, too, because their schedules did not fit in.

The Kremlin commented on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision not to come to Moscow. "We take them (arguments) into account," Peskov said. He neither denied nor confirmed whether President Vladimir Putin had read Abe’s message, in which the Japanese prime minister explained the reasons why he would be absent from the festivities. "I cannot say definitely if we have received the letter or not," Peskov said, adding that he personally learned about the message from media reports.

As the Japanese Cabinet’s chief secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said on Thursday, Abe had addressed the Russian president with a personal message to explain why he would be absent from the festivities in Moscow. "The letter says that a visit to Moscow cannot take place because of problems with the prime minister’s working schedule," Suga said, without disclosing the details.

The Kremlin also said the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit, announced earlier, would not take place. Peskov said Kim "has made a decision to stay in Pyongyang."

"He will be unable to come to Moscow. We learned about that decision through diplomatic channels. It is connected with purely internal affairs," Peskov said. He was unable to say when the Russian and North Korean leaders might have their next contacts.

"There are no immediate plans at the moment," he said.

The Kremlin strongly denied speculations Moscow might have received messages from other countries the presence of the North Korean leader at the May 9 ceremonies would be undesirable.

"Of course, not," Peskov said, when asked if there had been any requests of the sort from other countries.