PRAGUE (AP) — Czech President Milos Zeman has changed his mind about attending the May 9 military parade in Moscow, following criticism from the U.S. ambassador and local politicians.
Presidential spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said Friday that Zeman still plans to travel to Moscow to honor the Soviet soldiers who died in World War II but will not attend the traditional parade.
Zeman recently declared that Ambassador Andrew Schapiro was no longer welcome at Prague Castle, the seat of presidency, after the U.S. envoy's implied criticism of Zeman's decision to attend the military parade despite tensions between Russia and the West.
Zeman's original plan was also criticized by some government members and the opposition.
Ovcacek described Zeman's decision as "sovereign and independent," and nothing to do with the criticism.