London – On June 6th, at least 17 state leaders, including the Queen of England, President of the United States and the Chancellor of Germany, are to meet in Normandy. They will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the deployment of the anti-Hitler coalition army and the opening of the western front in Europe. However, contemporary history will also be created in France. As the newly-elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has been invited, might have the opportunity for the first meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On the English side of the La Mancha strait, the ceremonies began even earlier. And on Friday, June 6th, hundreds of British and Northern American veterans, most of which are aged over 80, will commemorate the anniversary on the French side in Normandy.
President Francois Hollande invited guests from various countries to the anniversary, however the international aspect of the ceremonies turned out to be dim.
The bad guess
President Vladimir Putin, who will represent one of the countries that fought against Hitler, became the object of accusations that his annex of Crimea and the support of Russian separatists in the east of Ukraine is reminiscent of Hitler’s policies.
In an interview to French television before his trip to Normandy, Vladimir Putin denied Russia’s involvement in the actions of the armed separatists in Donbas. He also proposed the possibility of meeting with Petro Poroshenko.
“I think that Mr. Poroshenko has a unique opportunity: his hands are not yet stained with blood, and he can stop the punishing operation and begin direct dialogue with the citizens in the east and south of his country,” stated Putin.
Meanwhile President Hollande was forced to organise two separate dinners, as the US President Barack Obama refused to exchange pleasantries with the Russian leader, whom he earlier called an aggressor.
The unexpected guest
Petro Poroshenko’s invitation was an unexpected diplomatic step of the French government.
Alla Lazaryeva, editor of “Ukrainian Week” magazine, lives in Paris. She says that one of the reasons for such a decision of the French government were the active calls of the Ukrainian community.
On June 6th, 1944, British radio notified about the beginning of the deployment of the American, British and Canadian armies on the French coast in Normandy.
Approximately 160 thousand soldiers participated in the operation and it is considered that only on the first day of the opening of the western European front, about 2,5 thousand soldiers have perished.
Within 11 months nazi Germany capitulated.
Source: Radio Svoboda
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina