United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is among the many world leaders expected to attend the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on 9 May. This year marks 70 years since the allied victory in the second world war.
Russian agency TASS quoted UN sources confirming Ban’s participation.
“The departure to Moscow is scheduled for May 8. In Russia, the secretary general will take part in festive events and will return on May 11,” a UN official told the news agency.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un are among those attending the event in Moscow’s Red Square. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will reach Moscow on 10 May to lay a wreath at a war memorial.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said earlier this week that UN chief Ban Ki-moon was expected to attend Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on May 9.
“He was invited to attend the celebrations. We expect him to come,” Gatilov said.
More than a dozen countries are sending their military units to take part in the victory parade at the Red Square on May 9th.
26 countries, including China, Greece, Vietnam, Netherlands, Egypt, have confirmed their attendance at the celebrations in Russia.
“As two of the main battlefields in Asia and Europe during World War Two, China and Russia will hold a series of celebrations, and state leaders will attend commemorations held in each other’s country,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in January this year.
China’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, led to the death of some 20 million Chinese, according to Beijing’s estimates. It ended with Tokyo’s World War II defeat in 1945.
Although most Western historians believe that 22 million Soviets died in the Great Patriotic War, Russian sources put the number higher – at 27 million people.
Russia’s Red Army lost 8.5 million troops – a figure comparable only with German losses. Another 18 million were civilians who died as a result of Hitler’s genocide.