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U.S., Russia Commemorate Historic Elbe Meeting As Example Of Overcoming 'Differences'

U.S. and Soviet soldiers greet each other on the Elbe in Germany on April 25, 1945.
U.S. and Soviet soldiers greet each other on the Elbe in Germany on April 25, 1945.

The United States and Russia have commemorated the 75th anniversary of a meeting between U.S. and Soviet soldiers on a bridge in Germany as an example that the two countries can overcome "differences" to resolve global threats.

The historic handshake by U.S. and Soviet troops on April 25, 1945, as they stood on a damaged bridge crossing the Elbe River near the town of Torgau signified the impending defeat of Nazi Germany by the allied forces.

"The 'Spirit of the Elbe' is an example of how our countries can put aside differences, build trust, and cooperate in pursuit of a greater cause," U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a joint statement on April 25.

The anniversary comes as the two countries, at odds on a host of issues, are again fighting a common enemy in the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S.-Russia relations are at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War more than a quarter-century ago as actions by the Kremlin, including its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, support of separatists in eastern Ukraine, and interference in U.S. elections, pushed Washington to impose hard-hitting sanctions against the country.

However, dialogue between Washington and Moscow has reactivated in recent weeks amid the global fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Trump and Putin have spoken at least five times over the past month to discuss the pandemic, including its impact on global oil prices, an unprecedented number of calls since Trump took office in 2017.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said the events of 75 years ago were a reminder that the world is a "safer and more stable place" when the United States and Russia "reach across that bridge and work together."

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