Washington, May 9 (PTI): US President Barack Obama has no plans to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in June when they and other world leaders attend the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France, the White House has said.
“At this point, we do not anticipate that the President will do any bilateral meetings with any world leaders,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
Russia’s intervention in the Ukraine crisis has triggered the worst chill in relations between Washington and Moscow since the end of the Cold War. The US accuses Russia of fomenting unrest in Ukraine.
Along with Obama and Putin, several other world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel are due to attend the June 6 ceremony in Normandy to mark the defeat of Nazism.
“This is primarily an opportunity for the President and leaders from around the globe to pay tribute to the heroism of Allied forces that led to victory in World War II. That will be the focal point of the President’s activities,” Earnest said.
Earnest said Obama is looking forward to this trip.
“He talked last night about why this will be a memorable, moving, important trip for him, and it has nothing to do with President Putin. It has everything to do with a generation of Americans and allies who liberated a continent and did so at great risk to themselves.
“And that’s what the President will be doing when he is travelling to Normandy. It will be an opportunity for him to pay tribute to that brave generation,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov over the unrest in Ukraine, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
“He (Kerry) talked about the importance of taking specific steps to move forward in agreeing on those, support for dialogues that are happening around Ukraine and efforts by the international community to support those, and reiterated the importance of the election,” Psaki said.