White House not thrilled by Macron’s D-Day invite to Russia

    WORLD  18 May 2024 - 17:59

    The White House is not pleased over French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to invite a representative of Russia’s government to attend next month’s celebration of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, two administration officials told POLITICO.

    “We would defer to the government of France, which organizes the commemoration at Normandy,” one of the officials said. “But perhaps this will remind the Russians that they actually fought real Nazis once, not imaginary ones in Ukraine.”

    In advance of the D-Day commemoration, France invited a representative of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin to attend, setting up the possibility of a Russian official crossing paths with President Joe Biden, who will also be at the event. It is unclear which official from the Kremlin will be going. The decision sparked umbrage among some European leaders, who noted that the country is more than two years into its unprovoked war against Ukraine. The D-Day event is intended to mark the collective sacrifice by the allies in World War II to preserve democracy. In particular, those European leaders expressed concern that the invitation to the Kremlin would undermine the symbolic nature of an event focused on democracy as well as create complications related to protocols and diplomatic engagements.

    Inside the Biden administration, senior members of the national security team and even the president himself have long seen Macron as someone who believes he has influence over Putin. And the White House has largely accepted his efforts to maintain a diplomatic relationship with Moscow even as Russia has shrugged off the West’s economic sanctions and continued with its assault on Ukraine.

    The decision by Macron to invite a Russian representative to Normandy has largely been viewed through that lens, said the first administration official, who spoke about the matter on the condition of anonymity.

    At least one prominent Hill Republican aired a similar sentiment.

    “One of the Kremlin’s most vile propaganda narratives is to downplay the importance of D-Day and the sacrifices made on the beaches of Normandy by American, British, French, and other allied soldiers,” House Foreign Affairs Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told POLITICO. “It is disappointing for France to invite Russia to commemorate an event that the Russians themselves openly believe was pointless. Not to mention, this invitation is happening as Russia openly threatens another world war.”

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