- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2014

President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet next month at the ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the first time they will have been together since the crisis in Ukraine began.

But the White House said the two leaders won’t have any one-on-one meetings.

“We do not anticipate the president will do any bilateral meetings with world leaders” while at Normandy, White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin have spoken on the phone several times since the outbreak of violence in Ukraine but have not met face to face. They were scheduled to meet at a G-8 meeting in Sochi, Russia, next month, but the U.S. and its allies pulled out of the gathering to voice displeasure with Moscow’s meddling in Ukraine.

The administration also is trying to downplay the significance of Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin appearing together at the Normandy ceremony.

“If you consider that the Russian soldiers were fighting on the same side as American soldiers in that [war], it shouldn’t be a remarkable surprise that the Russian president would attend,” Mr. Earnest said.