The Kremlin said on Tuesday that the United States had told Moscow that U.S. President Donald Trump would not travel to Russia to mark Victory Day on May 9.
Putin presides over an annual parade on May 9 to commemorate the Soviet Union’s World War Two victory over Nazi Germany and uses the occasion to show off the country’s military hardware.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Moscow did not yet know who would represent the United States at the commemorative event.
Trump had wrestled with the decision on whether to go, U.S. officials said. He had wanted to go but faced pressure from advisers not to embark on such a journey.
The first two years of Trump’s presidency were consumed with an investigation into whether his presidential campaign colluded with Russia in 2016.
Trump survived the Russia probe, only to be impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives for seeking to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic rival Joe Biden. The Republican-led Senate acquitted him of the allegations in February.
While Trump has maintained sanctions on Russia, he has faced criticism from Democrats over what they consider a softer attitude toward Putin, who the president says he wants to get along with.
Former National Security Council Russia expert Fiona Hill told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in an interview broadcast on Sunday that Trump has a reason for not criticizing Putin.
“President Trump understands that President Putin does not like to be insulted. Putin takes it very personally. He harbors a grudge. He doesn’t forget. And he will find some way of getting some degree of revenge,” she said.