Support The Moscow Times!

British Prime Minister Cameron Snubs Russia's WWII Commemoration

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks with worker Sam Barrett as he views a military aircraft during his visit to BAE Systems, in Preston, northern England Mar. 12.

LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron has no plans to attend a ceremony in Moscow on May 9 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, his official spokeswoman said Thursday, citing diplomatic concerns.

Tensions over the separatist crisis in Ukraine have chilled diplomatic relations between London and Moscow, and earlier this week Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Russia could pose the greatest threat to British national security.

"We will be considering our representation [at the Moscow ceremony] in light of our ongoing discussion with Russia, our concerns about their activities, so I don't think we have plans for the prime minister to attend," the spokeswoman told reporters.

The World War II commemoration in Moscow is scheduled two days after a close national election in Britain, making it unlikely that Cameron would have been able to attend even if relations were warmer.

The European Union and United States accuse Russia of arming separatists in eastern Ukraine and reinforcing their ranks with troops. Moscow has repeatedly denied this and accuses the United States of pushing the pro-Western government in Kiev to war.

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the developments in Ukraine meant it would be impossible for her to take part in the World War II ceremony on May 9, celebrated as the Victory Day public holiday in Russia.

It was not immediately known if any of the other main World War II allied powers, including the United States and France, would attend the ceremony.

Read more