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Czech President Zeman to attend Victory Day celebrations in Moscow

Vladimir Putin greets Milos Zeman in Moscow for the 2015 Victory Day celebrations

Prague, Czech Republic – Czech President Milos Zeman will once again head to Moscow next year to attend the Victory Day celebrations and commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the victory over Nazi Germany, reports local media.

Zeman to attend Russia’s Victory Day celebrations in 2020

On Monday, Russian presidential advisor Yuri Ushakov traveled to the Czech Republic to meet with Zeman and invited him, on behalf of Vladimir Putin, to the Victory Day celebrations that will take place in Moscow in May.

The Czech President accepted the invitation, according to spokesman Jiri Ovčáček who disclosed the information on Twitter.

The exact details of the program of the Czech head of state, known for his pro-Russian stance and close links with Russian President Vladimir Putin, remain unknown.

A controversial precedent in 2015

In 2015, Milos Zeman was the only EU head of state to take part in the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Moscow, and had come under fire for his notorious close links to Russia and President Putin, one year after the annexation of Crimea and the introduction of EU sanctions.

Although he was initially due to attend the Victory Day Parade, Milos Zeman eventually cancelled his participation to the Kremlin’s flagship demonstration of its military might in face of growing criticism. One of the conditions set by the Czech government to authorize his Moscow trip was that he didn’t take part in the parade.

Czech and Russian Presidents Milos Zeman and Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2015
Breaking ranks with European and Western allies, Milos Zeman attended the Victory Day celebrations in 2015 and met with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Over the past few years, Zeman also attended similar Victory Day celebrations organized at the Russian embassy in Prague.

Contrary to other European and Western countries, for whom the war with Germany officially ended on May 8, Russia holds commemorative events on May 9, the day Stalin announced the war was over for Soviet troops.