China has invited Russian troops to march in a parade in Beijing in September to commemorate the end of World War Two, the Defense Ministry said on Monday, a move likely to further put off Western leaders from attending.
China has been coy about which countries it plans to invite to the parade, but says it will likely invite representatives from the Western Allies who fought with China during the war.
President Xi Jinping could be left standing on the stage with few top Western officials, however, diplomats told Reuters, due to Western governments concerns over a range of issues, including the expected presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Xi attended a parade in Moscow on Saturday to mark 70 years since the end of the war in Europe.
A Defense Ministry statement said Fan Changlong, deputy chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission, told Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu that China "warmly welcomes Russian military leaders and army formations" to take part in the September events in Beijing.
Xi's visit to Russia and appearance at the Moscow commemorations "pushed the China-Russia all-round strategic partnership relationship to a new level", Fan added, according to the statement.
Western leaders boycotted the Moscow parade over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis.