Russia in a tweet on Wednesday minimized the strategic importance of the D-Day invasion as leaders from Allied nations gathered for a ceremony to mark its 75th anniversary.

“The Normandy landings were not a game-changer for the outcome of WWII and the Great Patriotic War. The outcome was determined by the Red Army’s victories — mainly, in Stalingrad and Kursk,” Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, referencing earlier battles in 1942 and 1943.

“For three years, the UK and then the US dragged out opening the second front.” 

 

 

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The account's avatar depicts Russian agent Maria ButinaMaria ButinaState Department's top arms control official leaving Overstock CEO resigns after comments about 'deep state,' Russia investigation Wyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations MORE, currently serving an 18-month sentence in the U.S. for acting as an unregistered foreign agent, with the hashtag #FreeMariaButina. 

The tweet sparked pushback, with several Twitter users pointing out that the USSR had initially established neutral relations with the Nazis under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact before Germany invaded in 1941.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova expanded on the tweet in remarks to reporters Wednesday, according to Reuters.

While Zakharova praised the part the other Allies played in the war, she said, “It should of course not be exaggerated. And especially not at the same time as diminishing the Soviet Union’s titanic efforts, without which this victory simply would not have happened."

More than 25 million Soviets died in World War II, among them 9 million to 11 million troops, the steepest losses of any participating power. Zakharova implied Soviet contributions allowed the opening of the western front.

“There was a wish to wait for the maximum weakening of Germany’s military power from its enormous losses in the east, while reducing losses in the west,” she said, according to Reuters.

In an article published in Russia’s International Affairs magazine Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed similar sentiments.

"False interpretations of history are being introduced into the Western education system with mystifications and pseudo-historical theories designed to belittle the feat of our ancestors," Lavrov wrote. "Young people are being told that the main credit in victory over Nazism and liberation of Europe goes not to the Soviet troops, but to the West due to the landing in Normandy, which took place less than a year before Nazism was defeated."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE joined other world leaders in Normandy, France, on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. 

Trump in his remarks praised those who stormed the beaches, dozens of whom were in attendance.

"To more than 170 veterans of the second World War who join us today, you are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live," Trump said.

"You are the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic," he added. "And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts."