(UPDATES with date)
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is to attend the London Olympic opening ceremony, a government official said Tuesday.
Britain’s Foreign Office has said some 120 heads of state will attend the July 27 event, making it the biggest ever top-level international gathering.
“It is assumed that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will travel to London to take part in the opening of the Olympics,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
President Vladimir Putin, who attended the Beijing 2008 opening ceremony as Russian prime minister, is expected to attend some of the judo events in a private capacity.
Russia is keen to send a top delegation as the host of the following Games in Sochi in 2014.
“The next Olympics, although winter, will be with us, and we must, as future hosts, demonstrate our attention to the Olympic movement and, if there is the opportunity, watch the event in London itself,” the official said.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti last month that the 59-year-old leader had not decided whether to attend, responding to reports in the British media he would snub the event.
“This trip is of a personal nature, though in content it is of course broader, because we will demonstrate our respect for the Olympic movement,” the official said.
“As future hosts we want to win the support of all our colleagues who will be there. At various times there will be quite a high level of representation from foreign delegations,” he added.