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'Door closed' to US Ambassador to Prague

The Czech Republic says it has "closed the door" of Prague Castle to the US ambassador following his comments about the president's decision to attend Victory Day celebrations in Moscow.

Local media said on Sunday that Czech leader Milos Zeman had "closed the door" of Prague Castle to US Ambassador Andrew Schapiro after he made controversial comments about the president's decision to join celebrations to mark the end of World War II in Russia.

EU leaders are boycotting the ceremony next month over Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict.

Military aircraft trail smoke in the colors of the Russian tricolor

Military aircraft trail smoke in the colors of the Russian tricolor during a fly past at Moscow's Red Square

However, Zeman had said he would attend the May 9 commemorations being held in the Russian capital, Moscow.

"I can't imagine the Czech ambassador in Washington would give advice to the American president where to travel," Zeman told news portal Parlamentni Listy. "I won't let any ambassador have a say about my foreign travels."

"Ambassador (Andrew) Schapiro has the door to the castle closed," he added.

A presidential spokesman said that Schapiro could still attend social events at Prague Castle, the official residence of the Czech president.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (center) reviews troops

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (center) reviews troops taking part in a Victory Day parade in Moscow

Left out in the cold over comments

Schapiro had told Czech television that it would be "awkward" if Zeman attended the ceremony as the only statesmen from an EU country.

Zeman, a former prime minister, has frequently departed from the EU's stance on the Ukraine crisis and criticized sanctions against Moscow.

Russia's victory over Nazi Germany is marked each year in major Russian cities.

lw/gsw (Reuters, dpa)