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Ukrainian leader invited to France's D-Day ceremonies alongside Russia's Putin

Published on May 29, 2014 12:39 AM

PARIS (AFP) - The new president of Ukraine has been invited to join Russia's Vladimir Putin at the 70th anniversary commemorations of D-Day next week in France, French officials announced on Wednesday.

In a move that will fuel hopes of a potential face-to-face encounter and a possible easing of tensions between the two countries, the officials said President Francois Hollande has invited Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko to the June 6 ceremonies in Normandy.

US President Barack Obama, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are also due to attend, along with Mr Putin and a number of other leaders of countries who were involved in World War II.

The announcement of the invitation to Mr Poroshenko came after Kremlin aides confirmed that Mr Putin would have dinner with Hollande on the eve of the ceremonies, in what will be his first face-to-face encounter with a Western leader since Russia's annexation of Crimea in March.

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