“We have been informed via diplomatic channels that the [American] president will not be coming,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. It isn’t clear who might represent the United States for Victory Day events, and the White House hasn’t publicly provided a reason.
A parade will take place in the Russian capital on May 9 to mark the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s World War II victory over Nazi Germany. Invitations were sent to Trump, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, and other leaders, the state-run TASS service reported.
The leaders of the Czech Republic, India, Venezuela, Cuba, France, Bulgaria, Armenia, and Belarus have confirmed that they will attend.
While Putin had told reporters that it “won’t be important at all” for other leaders to attend the event because “it is our celebration,” on March 10, he said that it would be “a mistake” for other world leaders not to attend, The Associated Press reported.
“I think that, concerning former members of the anti‑Hitler alliance, the right thing to do would be to attend (our event), from both a domestic political stance and a moral one,” Putin told state media. “We look forward to seeing them and we will be glad if they come. If not, well, that’s their choice. But I think that would be a mistake for them.”
Trump told reporters in November 2019 he was considering an invitation from Russia to go to the celebration.
“I was invited. I am thinking about it. It is right in the middle of our campaign season,” Trump said at the time.
In the first two years of Trump’s presidency, the administration faced a Democratic-led investigation into whether his presidential campaign worked with Russia in 2016.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation revealed that the Trump campaign didn’t collude with Moscow. However, the Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump months later.
The Republican-led Senate acquitted him on the impeachment charges last month.
Despite the pressure, Trump has maintained sanctions on Russia but he’s faced criticism from Democrats and pundits for what they have described as a softer viewpoint on Putin. Trump has publicly stated that he wants to get along with Russia, a nuclear-armed power.