Moscow/Prague, Dec 30 (CTK) – Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to see Czech President Miloš Zeman at the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the WWII end in Moscow next year, Putin has indicated in his New Year’s greetings sent to Prague.
Zeman said last Friday that he was considering canceling his visit to Moscow in May 2020 over Russia’s criticism of the decision to list August 21 as a significant Czech day, the Day of the Victims of the Invasion of 1968 and the Subsequent Occupation by Warsaw Pact Armies.
The Soviet-led troops of five Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia in the night of August 21, 1968, which crushed the Communist-led reform movement known as the Prague Spring.
“In his wishes to the President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, V. Putin stressed that Zeman’s participation in the celebrations in Moscow on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory over fascism would undoubtedly symbolise friendship and mutual respect between the nations of Russia and Czechia,” the Kremlin website writes on Putin’s greetings sent to his Czech counterpart.
A message to Prague is one in a number of New Year’ greetings from the Kremlin addressed to other heads of state.
In mid-December, Zeman as well as other Czech government and opposition politicians sharply rejected the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement criticising the decision to list August 21 among significant Czech days.
On December 27, Zeman even called this statement “an absolute impertinence.”
“Some time ago, I accepted President Putin’s invitation to the celebration of the 75th anniversary of victory in World War Two, and now I am considering either not going there or, which is more likely, going there and telling Russians: Let’s turn this page of history and stop remembering this anniversary,” Zeman said then.