Russia welcome but Putin not invited to French D-Day anniversary


Russia but not President Vladimir Putin will be invited to the French ceremony marking 80 years since the World War II D-Day landings in Normandy, organisers said Tuesday.

A host of world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, are expected to attend the 6 June commemoration marking the 80th anniversary of the 1944 Normandy landings.

"In view of the circumstances, President Putin will not be invited to take part," the Liberation Mission organising committee said, referring to Russia's "war of aggression" in Ukraine.

"Russia will however be invited ... to honour the importance of the commitment and sacrifices of the Soviet people, as well as its contribution to the 1945 victory."

A representative of the Russian embassy in Paris said they would not comment at this stage.

In 2023, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin on the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.

'Not a game-changer'

The Russian leader was also not invited to attend ceremonies for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019.

At the time, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the Normandy landings were "not a game-changer" for the outcome of WWII and the Great Patriotic War", as it is called in Russia.

The spokesperson said the outcome was instead determined by the Red Army's victories in Stalingrad and Kursk.

A 2019 poll by French daily Le Figaro found that 81 percent of the 92,000 respondents thought Putin should have been invited.

The Russian leader did get an invitation for D-Day's 60th anniversary in 2014, when he also discussed a possible ceasefire in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels fought against Ukrainian troops.

The talks between Putin and former French, German and Ukrainian leaders François Hollande, Angela Merkel and Petro Poroshenko became known as the "Normandy Format", but in the end yielded no results.

​​​​​​(with newswires)