RUSSIA has branded the decision not to invite its representatives to the Queen’s funeral as “profoundly immoral” and “blasphemous”.
Presidents, prime ministers and royalty from around the world will gather on Monday for the state funeral – but Vladimir Putin has been snubbed.
The coffin carrying Queen Elizabeth II rests in Westminster HallCredit: Getty
King Charles follows the coffin of the Queen during the ceremonial procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster HallCredit: Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been invited to the Queen’s funeralCredit: Reuters
The Russian dictator has not been invited as ties between the UK and Russia remain strained over the Ukraine war.
Britain has been one of the strongest opponents of Russia’s barbaric invasion of the country – and one of the biggest providers of money, weapons and aid.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the snub as an “attempt to use the national tragedy for geopolitical purposes”.
She said: “We see this British attempt to use the national tragedy, which has touched the hearts of millions of people around the world, for geopolitical purposes to settle scores with our country… as deeply immoral.
“This is particularly blasphemous towards Elizabeth II’s memory.”
She added: “The unifying image of Queen Elizabeth II, who has not interfered with politics as a matter of principle during her reign, has not become an obstacle to London’s dissenting attacks, which are subject to accomplishing their own conjectural objectives.
“For our part, we express our profound condolences to the British people for the great loss that befell them.”
Invitations were sent out to heads of state of nearly every country in the world – apart from Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Russia, Belarus, and Myanmar.
Syria and Venezuela are not invited as the UK does not currently have diplomatic relations with those states, while Afghanistan was not invited due to the current political situation, sources said.
Global leaders are set to arrive in London this weekend and expected to pay their own respects to Queen Elizabeth with visits to Westminster Hall where she is lying in state.
The deadline to accept the invitations passes tonight – after which officials will finalise the seating plan.
First Lady Olena Zelenska is among the 500 heads of state and dignitaries invited to the service and a VIP reception hosted by King Charles the day before.
A source said: “Olena Zelenska’s presence is yet another sign of the global support for Ukraine while Russia is isolated.
“Britain is one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies. Her presence at the funeral is a sign of that friendship and mutual respect.”
US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron are among the most high-profile guests who have confirmed they will be attending.
It comes as…
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the President of India Droupadi Murmu will also attend.
Dozens of members of foreign royal families — including Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain and King Philip and Queen Mathilde of Belgium — will also be among the 2,000 mourners at Westminster Abbey.
Meanwhile, China’s Xi Jinping will skip the funeral and send his deputy instead.
But the move to roll out the red carpet for Vice-President Wang Qishan sparked fury among Tory MPs who said he should be banned over the nation’s human rights abuses.
MP Tim Loughton told the BBC: “Britain can’t possibly have official representatives of the Chinese government attending such an important occasion.”
The world leaders will join nearly 200 key workers and volunteers recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
The evening before the funeral, King Charles and his Queen Consort Camilla will host foreign VIPs at a Buckingham Palace reception.
It is set to be the largest gathering of world leaders in modern history and the first state occasion at the palace — which is undergoing a £360million refit — since then President Donald Trump’s visit more than three years ago.
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