Alexander Orlov, the Russian ambassador to France, announced on television Thursday Putin will visit Normandy to attend the June 6 commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the war's turning point, at the invitation of the French government.
The development comes at a time when Russia and Western powers are at odds over Russia's involvement in Ukraine. The United States and the European Union have imposed economic sanctions, and have condemned Russia's annexation of Crimea and apparent involvement in a separatist movement in Ukraine.
"We may have differences with Vladimir Putin but I have not forgotten, and never will forget, that the Russian people gave millions of lives (during the war)," French President Francois Hollande said in a television interview.
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