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Berlin Says Merkel Won't Attend Moscow WWII Victory Day Parade

The German government says Chancellor Angela Merkel won't attend a May 9 Victory Day parade in Moscow but will visit the Russian capital a day later.

A government spokesman said March 11 that Merkel has declined an invitation to attend the Red Square commemoration marking 70 years since the capitulation of Nazi Germany to Soviet forces.

However, the spokesman said Merkel plans to visit Moscow on May 10 to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier together with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had agreed to the plan.

Russia marks the end of World War II on May 9, while Western allies mark the event a day earlier, on May 8.

Few Western leaders are expected to attend because of tensions over the Ukraine conflict.

Russia confirmed last month that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will attend the event.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AFP