- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has found a direct way to avoid the embarrassment of diplomatic no-shows at the annual May Victory Parade May 9 celebrating the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany: don’t send out invitations in the first place.

A year after Western leaders largely stayed away from the 75th anniversary celebrations in Red Square, the Kremlin said Wednesday that no foreign guests will be invited to the 76th anniversary festivities next month. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that last year’s 75th anniversary was a milestone and that this year’s celebrations would be more modest.

“This is not a jubilee year. No foreign guests will be invited,” Mr. Peskov said, according to a report by the TASS news agency.

The 2020 events were also complicated by the growing COVID-19 pandemic crisis, with the Kremlin facing criticism for persisting with a major public event just as much of the world was shutting down and quarantining. Many foreign leaders canceled their RSVPs after the parade was pushed back from its original May date to June 24.

Citing earlier reports, TASS said plans for this year’s Victory Day parade will include some 12,000 service members, 190 pieces of military equipment, and 76 aircraft.

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