Biden and Macron Highlight Support for Ukraine at D-Day Event

Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron marked the 80th anniversary of D-Day with a powerful call for support for Ukraine, as Volodymyr Zelenskiy was warmly welcomed by Western leaders in Normandy.

At the American commemorative event, President Biden sent a strong message to Moscow, asserting that the US and its allies “will not bow down” and are committed to “stand for freedom.” Speaking at the American cemetery in Normandy, Biden emphasized the importance of resisting dictators and standing up to bullies. “To surrender to bullies, to bow down to dictators, is simply unthinkable,” he declared. “If we were to do that, it means we’d be forgetting what happened here on these hallowed beaches.”

Biden further underscored the stakes involved in supporting Ukraine, warning that failure to do so would lead to subjugation and wider threats to Europe. He described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “tyrant bent on domination” and reinforced the enduring value of fighting for freedom and democracy.

Later, Zelenskiy and his wife, Olena, attended an international event on Omaha Beach, where about 2,400 US servicemen lost their lives on June 6, 1944. The couple received a warm reception, with cheers from the crowd and embraces from fellow leaders. Biden is set to meet with Zelenskiy in Paris on Friday.

In his tribute, Macron praised Ukraine’s president and the courage of those fighting for freedom, prompting a standing ovation from the other 25 heads of state and government. Notably, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak chose not to attend the international event, returning to London for the election campaign. However, Keir Starmer attended and was seen discussing Ukraine with Zelenskiy.

Macron expressed gratitude to the Ukrainian people for their bravery and reiterated France’s unwavering support. “Faced with the return of war on our continent … faced with those who purport to change borders by force to rewrite history, let us be worthy of those who landed here,” he said, as French fighter jets performed a flypast. Addressing Zelenskiy directly, Macron acknowledged the significance of his presence at the event.

Russian representatives were not invited to the Normandy commemorations, with French officials citing the war in Ukraine as the reason. In St. Petersburg, Putin dismissed the lack of an invitation, saying, “let them celebrate without us.”

Support for Ukraine was evident at all the national and international events. Zelenskiy, embracing a US veteran, was told, “You’re the saviour of the people.” The Ukrainian leader responded, “No, you saved Europe … You are our hero.”

King Charles, speaking at the British Normandy memorial at Ver-sur-Mer, emphasized the ongoing need to stand up for freedom, drawing parallels to the current situation. “Again and again across the decades, free nations must stand together to oppose tyranny,” he said.

Biden made the most direct connection between the events of 80 years ago and the current invasion of Ukraine. “We must remember that the fact that they were heroes here that day does not absolve us of what we have to do today,” he said. “Democracy is never guaranteed. Every generation must preserve it, defend it, and fight for it. That’s the test of the ages.”

In a clear reference to the isolationist policies of his rival, Donald Trump, Biden stated, “Isolationism was not the answer 80 years ago and is not the answer today.” Meanwhile, Trump shared his own D-Day message on social media, praising US soldiers as “immortal heroes.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faced criticism for not attending the international commemorative event, delegating his attendance to Defense Secretary Grant Shapps. Nigel Farage, leader of the Reform Party, criticized Sunak’s absence, questioning his commitment to the significance of the event.

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