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Russia But Not Putin Invited To French D-Day Anniversary – Organizers

А sign marking the D-Day Allied landings during World War II, along Juno Beach, one of five beaches used for the Allied army landings in the department of Calvados at Bernieres-sur-Mer northwestern France. Lou Benoist / AFP

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

In February 2022, Putin sent troops to Ukraine, shredding ties with the West. And in 2023, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin on the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.

In June, France marks the 80th anniversary of the 1944 Normandy landings. A host of world leaders are expected to attend, including U.S. President Joe Biden.

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

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

No other details were provided.

A representative of the Russian Embassy in Paris said the mission would not comment at this stage.

There was no reaction from the Kremlin.

The announcement comes after the French authorities reached out to Russia in the aftermath of a recent Moscow attack claimed by the Islamic State group, saying France was ready to step up exchanges with Moscow with the aim of fighting "terrorism."

Some in France criticized President Emmanuel Macron's government over the move, saying the Kremlin was beyond any discussion as Moscow's invasion of Ukraine stretches into its third year.

Macron has not ruled out sending ground troops to Ukraine to buttress Kyiv.

Putin attended the 70th anniversary of the landings in June 2014, despite the annexation of Crimea just months earlier.

Putin and Ukraine's then-President Petro Poroshenko met on the sidelines of the ceremony, after Moscow backed a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

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