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Soviet and US soldiers shake hands on a bridge on the Elbe River in 1945
Image: Getty Images

Trump, Putin mark WWII meeting anniversary

April 25, 2020

The two leaders issued a rare joint statement marking the 75th anniversary of US and Soviet forces meeting on Germany's Elbe river during World War II. They said the event showed how Russia and the US can work together.


US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Saturday commemorated American and Soviet forces coming together during the final days of World War II.

When the two allies met on the Elbe River near Torgau in Germany on April 25, 1945 — with the US military advancing from the West and Soviet forces advancing from the East — it was seen as a milestone event in conflict.

Read more: World War II and coronavirus economics: The perils of comparison

The rare joint statement comes at a time of strained relations between Washington and Moscow. Trump himself has been complimentary of Putin and promoted stronger ties with the Kremlin, but the US Congress and intelligence officials have repeatedly lambasted the Russian government for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. The US and Russia have also been at odds over military intervention in Syria and arms control accords.

However, the Trump and Putin administrations put aside talk of differences on Saturday, saying the Elbe River meeting showed how their respective countries can "build trust and cooperate."

"This event heralded the decisive defeat of the Nazi regime," the statement said. "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."

Read more: When Poland was lost: The Soviet invasion 80 years ago

"As we work today to confront the most important challenges of the 21st century, we pay tribute to the valor and courage of all those who fought together to defeat fascism," it added. "Their heroic feat will never be forgotten."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the US and Russia last marked the Elbe River meeting in 2010, when the Obama administration was seeking closer ties with Moscow.

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dr/mm  (dpa, Reuters)

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