Russian minister slams 'ill-considered' Merkel, Hollande WWII parade snub
Russia's Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky on Wednesday slammed French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for snubbing Moscow's World War II victory parade, saying the move was "ill-considered".
"It surprises me a lot. I think it's an ill-considered decision that contradicts the interests of both France and Germany," Medinsky said in an interview with Switzerland's RTS television channel.
"We want unions, we want agreements, we want compromises. What Hollande and Merkel want, I don't understand. I think they listen too much to what Washington wants," he said.
In response to Russia's actions in Ukraine, Merkel and Hollande are among numerous Western leaders, including US President Barack Obama, who are skipping Moscow's lavish celebrations to mark 70 years since the Soviet victory over the Nazis, culminating in a Red Square military parade on May 9.
But in an apparent compromise gesture, Merkel is set to visit Moscow a day later and hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"There will be talks between Putin and Merkel at the Kremlin," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency, adding the pair are also expected to give a joint news conference.
Hollande meanwhile is scheduled to visit the French Caribbean island of Martinique for a regional summit on May 9.
"Now it's more important than ever to remember World War II and be together against attempts to change attitudes to history," said Medinsky, who is a military history enthusiast.
"All the modern world order, all the 70 years of great peace in Europe are fully based on what Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt agreed" at the Potsdam Conference in 1945, he said.
At the conference following the Allied victory in Europe, Soviet, British and US leaders agreed on the future of post-war Germany and Poland.
"If we absolutely lose our sense of reality... then it could end with a new war and that's unacceptable," Medinsky said.
© 2015 AFP