MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss the crisis in Ukraine at talks in Moscow on Sunday, a Kremlin aide said on Wednesday.
Merkel will not attend a military parade on Red Square on Saturday commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe. The event is being shunned by Western leaders angered by Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine.
But she will be in Moscow for events on Sunday marking the victory over Nazi Germany and will hold a news conference with Putin, Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov said.
Merkel and French President Francois Hollande helped broker a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 12 but it has been violated many times.
“Naturally the situation in Ukraine will be among the main topics of the talks with the German chancellor,” Ushakov told reporters, adding that both leaders wanted an end to violence.
Twenty-seven heads of state or government will attend the military parade and Putin has talks scheduled with many of them, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Cuban leader Raul Castro, he said.
France had been considering not sending any senior officials to the event, but on Wednesday Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he would travel to Moscow and lay a wreath, although he would not attend the military parade.
“It’s history. The Russians lost tens of millions of people in the war and we can’t change history,” he told Europe 1 radio.
“We’re playing an important role top try and find a solution in Ukraine. We are talking to the Russians on this so we’re not going to talk one day and then not the next day.”
A diplomatic source said, however, there was no plan to discuss France’s suspended contract to deliver Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia during the visit.
Ushakov gave few details of the planned talks but said China may provide around 300 billion rubles ($6 billion) in financing for a railway link between Moscow and the Russian city of Kazan.
Military and energy cooperation will also be discussed during the talks with Xi, he said.
Reporting by Denis Dyomkin and John Irish in Paris; Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Tom Heneghan