MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow understands many US companies have run into direct pressure not to attend the upcoming St. Petersburg Economic Forum, but the event will continue as planned, the Kremlin said Wednesday.
“The program won’t be corrected, preparation [for the forum] is continuing just as it was planned,” Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said.
“It’s true, as far as we know, that many US companies have run into direct unprecedented pressure like oppression. They make their decisions to come or not to come to the forum, that’s their choice. We understand,” he added.
The St. Petersburg Economic Forum is an annual global economic gathering hosted by Russia under the patronage of the country’s president. This year’s event is scheduled for May 22-24.
Media reports earlier claimed that the US administration had called several large American companies, urging their CEO’s to “adjust their attendance.”
“Companies will have to make their own decisions, but we believe that the most senior business executives traveling to Russia to make high-profile appearances with Russian government officials at events such as this would send an inappropriate message," White House spokeswoman Laura Lucas Magnuson said.
The New York Times said that several senior US executives had expressed aggravation at being pressured. The Forum’s official website still names a number of senior American executives as participants.