The leaders of more than 30 countries have already confirmed that they will attend May 9 celebrations in Moscow marking the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, the Izvestia newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper said, citing a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry, that the invitations to the Victory Day events in Moscow had been forwarded to the leaders of many states and organizations. Twenty foreign leaders had confirmed their attendance by the end of January 2015, and there were more than 30 confirmations at the beginning of March.
The Foreign Ministry, however, declined to officially comment on the visit of foreign leaders and delegations to Moscow on May 9, promising to provide further details in early April.
Izvestia, for its part, reported that the heads of countries in Asia and the Middle East, as well as member states of the CIS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have been more willing to accept Moscow's invitations than European Union leaders.
A source familiar with measures to arrange foreign leaders' visit to Moscow on May 9 told Izvestia that the leaders of Tajikistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Vietnam, North Korea, the Netherlands, Greece, Egypt, and Israel are expected to arrive in the Russian capital for the Victory Day celebrations.
"Chairman of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of Vietnam Truong Tan Sang, leader of the People's Democratic Republic of Korea Kim Jong Un and some others have tentatively confirmed their attendance," the source said.
A possible visit by French President Francois Hollande was discussed as well.
"A French delegation will certainly be there, but there is no 100 percent certainty as far as Hollande himself is concerned," the source said.
Izvestia has also been informed that several Ukrainian parliamentarians and representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics plan to attend the Victory Day festivities in Moscow on May 9 as well.
Poland, however, has rejected Russia's invitation.
Diplomats told Izvestia that Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski would not be in Moscow on May 9.
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