Putin to meet western leaders in France despite standoff over Ukraine

Updated: 2014-05-08 21:52


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PARIS - Russian President Vladimir Putin will join Western leaders in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France next month despite standoff over Ukraine, Russia's envoy to Paris said on Thursday.

"French president Francois Hollande has invited the President Putin who has accepted the invitation and will attend the June 6 ceremony in Normandy," Moscow's ambassador Alexander Orlov told news channel BFMTV on the sidelines of "Victory in Europe" Day ceremony in Paris.

Orlov made the comments after Hollande said "Vladimir Putin, as representative of the Russian people... is welcome to attend the ceremony," to commemorate the D-Day landings in north France that helped to win the war against the Nazis.

"We may have differences with Vladimir Putin but I have not forgotten and will never forget that the Russian people gave millions of lives (during World War II)," Hollande told France 2 state-run television.

Tensions tainted Russia relations with Western leaders amid the Ukraine crisis which started after Viktor Yanukovych was ousted as president in February following his backtrack on European integration.