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Lukashenka Declines Invitation To Moscow Victory Day Parade

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says he will travel to Moscow to participate in events marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe on May 7 and 8, but he will not attend a Victory Day military parade in the Russian capital on May 9.

In an interview with Russia's ITAR-TASS, Lukashenka said he will preside over a Victory Day parade in Minsk on May 9 instead.

Belarus has traditionally been one of Russia's closest allies, but Lukashenka has been critical of Moscow's policies regarding Ukraine.

The Belarusian president, however, criticized politicians who have refused to travel to Moscow because of the conflict in Ukraine, saying that it is "an incorrect move" against "the Soviet people and the people of Eastern Europe, who we at that time liberated."

Representatives of about 25 countries -- including India, China, Serbia, and North Korea -- have confirmed that they will attend the May 9 parade in Moscow.

Based on reporting by TASS and Sputnik News