President Zeman not to attend military parade in Moscow

President Miloš Zeman, who is to visit Moscow for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, will not be viewing the planned military parade, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said at a press briefing in Prague on Friday. Mr. Ovčáček said that at the time of the parade President Zeman would be meeting for one-on-one talks with the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. The Czech president will join other foreign dignitaries in laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Kremlin wall.

The Czech President’s planned trip to Moscow, at a time when most EU heads of state have declined the invitation over Russia’s policy in Ukraine, has evoked a great deal of controversy in the Czech Republic. The government even postponed a decision on whether it would cover the cost of the trip indicating that this would not be possible were the president to attend the planned military parade which is seen as a show of force underscoring Russia’s dominance in the region.