US cancels key WW2 battle commemoration – Russia
US authorities have canceled this year’s ceremony in memory of the historic meeting of Soviet and American soldiers on the Elbe in 1945, which takes place annually at Arlington Cemetery near Washington at the Spirit of the Elbe memorial, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov told the media.
“It was refused to hold such events. Purely formally [they were canceled by] Arlington Cemetery, but we were clearly told that [this happened based] on the recommendation of the State Department. We understand this reaction due to the Russophobia that is deployed today in the United States,” he said.
Russian diplomats, their counterparts from CIS countries, World War II veterans, and American officials previously laid wreaths at the memorial every year.
In 2020, then-US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin said in a joint statement that “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.”
The meeting of Soviet and American troops near the city of Torgau on the Elbe took place on April 25, 1945. The event became symbolic of the joint effort of the Allies in the victory over Nazism.
A memorial plaque depicting Soviet and American soldiers shaking hands on the Elbe Bridge was installed at Arlington Cemetery in April 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the event.