Russia will be welcoming the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on the Victory Day; 26 state leaders have confirmed their attendance of the festivities in Moscow, says Sergei Ivanov, the chief of the Russian presidential administration.
"Twenty-six heads of state have confirmed their attendance. The leaders of a number of international organizations, including the UN, will also arrive. This year we are welcoming Ban Ki-moon as our guest," Ivanov said in an interview with the RT television.
Among attendees of the festivities are "the CIS, Asian and BRICS heads of state, as well as leaders of several European countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Balkan countries and Cyprus," he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will arrive in Moscow on May 10, i.e. the day after the Victory Parade, he recalled.
"Of course, under the current circumstances we don't have the warmest relations with several countries in Western Europe and North America," Ivanov said. "Because of this, there won't be as many world leaders coming to Moscow as, say, a decade ago when George Bush, the British prime minister and others attended the Parade," the chief of the Kremlin administration said.
However, "all this is not that important," he said. "This is first and foremost a Russian holiday. The Victory Day has a huge significance for the Russian people: our people are proud of it and want to stress that the USSR played a decisive role in the victory over Nazism. So while we are ready to extend a warm welcome to everyone who responded to our invitation, I will stress that this is first and foremost our holiday, our day of memory," Ivanov said.
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