“The ‘Spirit of the Elbe’ is an example of how our countries can put aside differences, build trust, and cooperate in pursuit of a greater cause,” it states.

But the move comes as the Pentagon and State department have complained about Russia’s behavior and many officials remain deeply wary of Moscow’s intentions. A National Security Council spokesman declined to comment…

“I am sure this was a Russian initiative,” said Angela Stent, a former U.S. intelligence analyst and author of “Putin’s World,” a book on the Russian leader. “Putin wants validation from the United States that today’s Russia like the Soviet Union is a great power.”

Some lawmakers and congressional staff who had been alerted to the statement in advance privately expressed concern. Some officials within the administration have also been concerned about the decision to issue the statement, fearing that it may undercut the stern U.S. messages toward Moscow, according to a person familiar with the internal deliberations.