France reportedly considering inviting Russia to D-Day anniversary events

It would be “difficult” to exclude Moscow from marking 80 years since the Allied landing in Normandy, Europe 1 said.

A Russian delegation will reportedly be invited to a ceremony in France marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, according to broadcaster Europe 1. The Allied landing in Normandy, which opened a second front against Nazi Germany in Europe, will be commemorated on June 6. The Elysee Palace is set to formally announce its decision to extend an invitation to Russia despite the current geopolitical climate, the radio station claimed on Tuesday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that Moscow had received no official communications on the matter from Paris. He suggested that the report may be “a rumor, or a hoax.” President Vladimir Putin took part in a ceremony on the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014. The event took place months after a Western-backed armed coup in Kiev prompted the then-Ukrainian region of Crimea to break away and seek Russian protection from Ukrainian nationalists. Paris invited the Russian leader despite the diplomatic rift caused by those events. Western media described Putin as “detached and isolated” during the event in Normandy.

According to Europe 1, France wants Moscow to have lower-level representation at this year’s event, but marking the historic date “would be difficult” if the country was not part of it at all, the outlet suggested. The Soviet Union sustained the highest number of casualties among the Allied powers during World War II, losing more than 26 million people, most of whom were civilians. Western nations provided crucial supplies for the Soviet war effort but joined the effort on the European continent only after the Red Army had forced Nazi Germany and its allies into retreat. Earlier in the day, Bloomberg claimed that some French and foreign officials were “apprehensive” about President Emmanuel Macron’s public rhetoric on Russia. The French leader seems to be “oscillating unpredictably between peacemaker and provocateur,” the news agency said. Last year, Macron said he may invite Putin to Normandy, if circumstances allowed.