(QHA) -

World leaders are gathering in Normandy, France, for ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of World War II. 

With Russian President Vladimir Putin attending -- as well as U.S. President Barack Obama and the leaders of France, Germany, Britain, and Canada -- there are hopes for a thaw in tensions over Ukraine’s crisis.

Aides for Hollande say he will try to get Putin to shake hands with Ukraine’s president-elect, Petro Porosenko, during the D-Day commemorations for what could be a first step toward defusing tensions, RFE/RL reports.

Meanwhile US President Barack Obama and Putin were expected to have some contact during a lunch of leaders.

At a Brussels summit on June 5, Group of Seven (G7) leaders warned Putin that entire sectors of the Russian economy could be targeted by expanded sanctions unless Putin brought an end to Russia's "destabilizing" actions in eastern Ukraine.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev criticized the G7’s position as "cynicism without limit."

Photo: AFP