United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement on April 25 to mark the 75th Anniversary of the momentous meeting between the American and Soviet troops at the Elbe River. It was the “historic” shaking of hands between armies of both the countries under the United Nations Declaration in 1942, which further led to the fall of the Nazi regime in World War II. The statement about US-Rusia “cooperation for greater cause” came amid the tensions over several issues including arms control and Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine and Syria, charges imposed by Washington over Russia’s spreading of misinformation about the outbreak of deadly coronavirus, and Russian meddling in the US elections.
The statement read, “The meeting on the Elbe represented a culmination of tremendous efforts by the many countries and peoples that joined forces under the framework of the United Nations Declaration of 1942. This common struggle required enormous sacrifice by millions of soldiers, sailors, and citizens in multiple theaters of war.”
“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,” it added.
According to international reports, the decision to issue a joint statement led to a debate among the US officials in the Trump administration over concerns that it could undermine the stern messages that were sent by the US to Russia. The last statement regarding the “heroic feat” was released back in 2010 marking the coordination of American and Russian troops who approached from west and east respectively. The US President had initially hoped to visit Moscow to mark the anniversary as Trump had been encouraging improving relations between both the countries. However, the nuclear-armed nations are currently at their reportedly lowest point since the Cold War ended.
Meanwhile, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to tighten its grip worldwide, Putin believes that the global health crisis is an opportunity for him to work together with Trump. According to reports, Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov said on April 16 that Russian President thinks COVID-19 outbreak is the time for Russia and US to “help each other”. While referring to the phone call between both the leaders, when the US President offered to send ventilators to Russia, Peskov called it a “very positive” showcase of Trump's readiness to provide assistance.