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    Parade on 69th anniversary of victory in Great Patriotic War

    Some World Leaders Too 'Scared' to Visit Moscow for Victory Day – Lavrov

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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that among those Western leaders who refused to visit the May 9 WWII Victory celebrations in Moscow there are some who were simply afraid to do so.

    Some Western leaders were just scared to come to Moscow to take part in the May 9 festivities to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    "Some have refused for ideological reasons, trying to use this sacred day in its policy aimed at containing and isolating Russia; some followed suit, while others were scared," Lavrov said in an interview with the Russian news TV channel Rossiya 24.

    He warned against making an issue out of the matter, saying that "it by no means affects the grandeur of this holiday for all of us."

    Lavrov's remarks came several days after it was reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not visit Moscow on May 9. A source in the Japanese government said that under the current circumstances, Tokyo has "no other choice but to miss this event."

    Earlier, a whole array of Western leaders signaled their reluctance to take part in the May 9 festivities in Moscow, including the Presidents of the United States, Bulgaria, Poland, Finland, Israel, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Many of them cited their stance on the situation in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.

    As for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, she will visit Moscow on May 10 to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Moscow.

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko also indicated his unwillingness to come, referring to his attendance at the military parade in the capital Minsk on May 9. At the same time, he did not support politicians who "arrogantly fail to deliver on their promise to come to the Moscow WWII Victory Day festivities." Russia said that it understands Lukashenko's decision.

    During his call-in appearance on April 16, President Putin said that every leader has to make their own decision whether or not to take part in the Moscow celebrations. Putin added that "some of them should be ashamed of their refusal to attend."

    Meanwhile, the leaders of 26 countries have confirmed their readiness to attend the celebrations, among them North Korean President Kim Jong-un and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

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