World / Europe

Putin to attend D-Day commemorations in Normandy: Hollande

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-05 14:11

BRUSSELS - Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend a commemoration ceremony of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, French President Francois Hollande said here on Wednesday.

Hollande said he invited Putin "in consultation with partners" despite the Ukrainian crisis.

Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko would also be present at the ceremony on Friday, Hollande told a press conference after the first session of the Group of Seven (G7) summit.

Hollande said he hoped there would be a meeting between Putin and Poroshenko, adding the legitimacy of Poroshenko was unquestionable and his inauguration should take place on Saturday.

In an interview with the French TF1 TV and Europe1 radio on Wednesday, Putin said he was ready to meet Ukraine's new president at the D-Day commemorations.

According to Hollande, G7 leaders on Wednesday discussed the Ukraine crisis after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February and fled to Russia amid protests and ensuing clashes between the new government and armed activists in the eastern regions.

The United States and the European Union have imposed travel bans and asset freezes on dozens of Russian and Crimean officials since Moscow took the Crimean peninsula after a controversial referendum in March.

G7 leaders gathered in Brussels for a two-day summit after boycotting a scheduled G8 summit in Russia's Sochi in early June.

Putin has dismissed sanctions against his country over the Ukraine issue as counterproductive, saying the measures did not accord with international law.

Hollande warned that broader curbs would be taken if Moscow continued to take no action to ease regional tension.

But he said the sale of two Mistral-class assault ships to Russia would not be included in the sanctions and the first delivery was due in November.

The French president would also meet his US counterpart Barack Obama Thursday over a possible 10-billion-US dollar fine for BNP Paribas. The US Department of Justice accused the French bank of breaching US sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba between 2002 and 2009.

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