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Czech President To Visit Moscow For Victory Day Celebrations

Czech President Milos Zeman has confirmed his plans to visit Moscow to participate in the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the World War II victory over Nazi Germany.

Zeman told Prague-based Frekvence 1 radio on March 29 that he will pay tribute to millions of Soviet citizens who died in the war, adding that "it would have been impossible to defeat Hitler without the Soviet Union."

Russian President Vladimir Putin will preside over a military parade in Red Square on May 9, which Russia celebrates as Victory Day.

Anniversary plans have sparked tension this year.

Moscow's annexation of Crimea and the war between Russian-backed rebels and government forces in Ukraine have evoked Europe's bloody 20th-century divisions and the Soviet postwar occupation of Eastern European states.

Many Western leaders are staying away from the Russian celebrations.

Among heads of state expected to attend are North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.

Zeman said he would not shake hands with Kim.

Based on reporting by Frekvence 1 and