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Russia Says West Sabotaging Victory Day Celebrations

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the United States and "aggressive" European Union members of concerted efforts to spoil Russia's planned celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Lavrov told a Kremlin meeting chaired by President Vladimir Putin on March 17, "Actions taken by the Americans and the aggressive core of the European Union has an impact on the participation of European countries."

Few Western leaders are expected to attend the May 9 celebrations in Moscow.

Most of them decided not to come for the event due to Russia's illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and the Kremlin's continued support for separatists in Ukraine.

Lavrov said he still expected the presidents of the Czech Republic and Cyprus to come as well as the prime ministers of Greece and Slovakia.

At least six leaders from non-EU countries were also expected to attend.

Based on reporting by TASS and dpa