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Zelenskyy in France for D-Day anniversary, calls for ”true unity” to prevail

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Normandy on Thursday 6 June to mark the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings on D-Day during the Second World War.
First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy arriving in France. Photo via Zelenskyy on X.
First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy arriving in France. Photo via Zelenskyy on X.
Zelenskyy in France for D-Day anniversary, calls for ”true unity” to prevail

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived in Normandy, northern France, to attend the D-Day anniversary commemoration. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy during the Second World War.

As reported by Zelenskyy on X (formerly Twitter).

Zelenskyy has called for “true unity” to prevail as it did when allied forces rallied together to defend “Europe’s freedoms.”

Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion has been a major theme of the D-Day commemorations on Thursday and frequent parallels have been drawn by numerous leaders.

“Allies defended Europe’s freedom then, and Ukrainians do so now. Unity prevailed then, and true unity can prevail today,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy said that he and first lady Olena Zelenska were honored to take part in today’s “special event,” adding that he wants to strengthen his country and promote unity among “all those who respect human values and life.”

“This event and day serve as a reminder of the courage and determination demonstrated in the pursuit of freedom and democracy,” he added.

Ukrainians ”fight with extraordinary courage”

The President of Ukraine will also meet with US President Joe Biden in Normandy following the commemoration, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on June 4, 2024.

“In Normandy, Biden will have the opportunity to meet with President Zelenskyy and discuss the state of affairs in Ukraine and how we can deepen our support for Ukraine,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan added that “In a few days, he will also have the opportunity to meet with President Zelenskyy again at the G7 summit in Italy.”

During the commemoration, the US president said that “our democracy is only as strong as we make it, together.”

“Freedom and democracy (…) is always worth dying for,” Biden said.

Furthermore, Biden noted that “we’re living in a time when democracy is more at risk across the world than at any point since the end of World War II. Isolationism was not the answer 80 years ago and is not the answer today.”

Speaking in Normandy to mark the 80th anniversary of the Allied operation, Biden drew direct parallels between Nazi Germany and the threats facing Western democracies today, including in Eastern Europe.

“We know the dark forces against which these heroes fought 80 years ago. They never disappear. Aggression and greed, the desire to dominate and control, to change borders by force. These are eternal things. And the struggle between dictatorship and freedom is endless,” he said.

The US president made a special reference to Ukraine, which was “invaded by a tyrant seeking to dominate.”

“Ukrainians fight with extraordinary courage, suffer great losses, but never retreat,” he emphasized.

Russo-Ukrainian War overshadows D-Day anniversary

According to Le Monde, the ceremonies organized over three days in tribute to the liberation of France, from bombarded towns to military cemeteries, cannot overshadow the deadly conflict that is once again tearing the continent apart and jeopardizing its security, far beyond the Ukrainian battlefields.

It is precisely because of the protracted war in Ukraine that Russia has not been invited to the 80th D-Day anniversary, unlike the 70th anniversary festivities.

Zelenskyy is expected to use the high-profile events to call for more military aid from the West and demand that the US and European countries seize Russian assets to help fund Ukraine’s defense and reconstruction efforts.

After the D-Day commemoration, Zelenskyy plans to travel to Italy for the G7 summit. G7 members have debated using hundreds of billions of seized Russian assets to boost Ukraine’s defenses and economy.

As reported by Financial Times, the ministers said they were “making progress” on options to “bring forward” the profits, according to a draft communique seen by the Financial Times. They added that G7 leaders would be presented with options for how to construct the loan ahead of the summit in June.

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