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The Moscow victory parade dilemma

April 11th, 2015

A pro-government columnist believes that President Áder of Hungary has good reasons both for accepting and for declining President Putin’s invitation to attend the annual victory day parade in Moscow.

In Magyar Hírlap, Gyula T. Máthé thinks President Milos Zeman of the Czech Republic will be in Moscow on the 9th of May because such a gesture might exempt his country from Russian import bans imposed in retaliation for western sanctions because of Russia’s role in Ukraine. In fact Russia has recently reiterated that some EU countries, including Cyprus, Greece and Hungary may not face food import bans by Russia. Greece and Cyprus are sending representatives to the Moscow on Victory Day, while Hungary’s President has not yet responded to Putin’s invitation. When US Ambassador to Prague Andrew Schapiro criticized President Zeman for going to the Red Square parade, the latter declared that he would no longer receive him in the presidential palace, but eventually while being on Moscow on May 9th, he will not attend the Red Square parade itself. Máté says Hungary’s president might decide both ways. On the one hand, sanctions against Russia will have to be called off one day; on the other, the US has made it clear that it would resent the participation of its allies at the Moscow ceremony.

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