WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama has no plans to meet one-on-one with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in June when both attend the D-Day anniversary in France, the White House said Thursday.
Russia's intervention in the political crisis in Ukraine has triggered the worst chill in relations between Washington and the Moscow since the end of the Cold War.
Both leaders are expected to attend the June 6 ceremony of remembrance in Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings in Nazi-occupied France during World War II.
But Caitlin Hayden, spokesman for Obama's National Security Council, told reporters: "There's no plan for President Obama to meet with President Putin.
"We understand France invited all countries that were party to the conflict and we would not expect France to dis-invite Russia from this historic event ... because of what's taking place in Ukraine."
Pressed on whether an informal encounter was possible, she added: "They'll be at the same events so I can't rule out they won't speak on the margins, as is the case at any multilateral event.
"But, no plans for a meeting."
Obama's administration had attempted in recent years to build improved relations with Russia, Washington's former Cold War foe.
But this "re-set" foundered on divisions over Syria, where Moscow is propping up Bashar al-Assad's regime, and Ukraine, where Putin seized the Crimea region and encouraged separatist rebels.