Slovenia invites Putin to WWI event despite EU tensions

14th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Slovenia said on Monday it has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend a World War I commemoration event in spite of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

"Our positions differ concerning some important issues but that only strengthens the need for a dialogue," President Borut Pahor said in a letter to Putin, as quoted by the Slovenian leader's office.

On July 31, Slovenia will commemorate the 100th anniversary of a World War I accident, in which dozens of Russian prisoners of war were killed in an avalanche in the northern Vrsic region.

Last year, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the ceremony.

The invitation came just hours after EU foreign ministers in Brussels called for the bloc to stand up to Russia and defend core political and security interests, even while trying to find a common stance on issues such as the Syrian conflict.

The EU imposed economic sanctions against Russia for its March 2014 annexation of Crimea and suspected further intervention in eastern Ukraine, sending ties into a deep freeze reminiscent of the Cold War.

© 2016 AFP

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