Biden commemorates D-Day at Normandy, calling on allies to repel 'tyrant' Putin in Ukraine

President Biden commemorated the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, using the occasion to call on allies to repel “tyrant” Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. 

At a ceremony held near the beaches of Normandy, Biden, speaking after French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, described the state of the world on June 6, 1944, when 73,000 Americans joined Allied forces to carry out the critical mission that came to be known as D-Day, considered a major turning point in World War II. 

“The evil of Hitler’s Third Reich was devastating the world,” Biden said. “Nazi Germany had subjugated the once free nations of Europe through brute force, lies and twisted ideology of racial superiority. Millions of Jews murdered in the Holocaust, millions of others killed by bombs, bullets, bloody warfare. Hitler and those with him thought democracies were weak. That the future belonged to dictators. Here, the coast of Normandy, the battle between freedom and tyranny would be joined here on that June morning.” 

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Standing in front of a group of now-centenarian veterans who, as young service members, stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious assault in history, Biden directly linked the fighting against Nazi Germany to the fighting in Ukraine that has been going on since Russia’s February 2022 full-scale invasion. 

In the aftermath of World War II, the United States helped establish the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which Biden deemed the “greatest military alliance in the history of the world” that overtime grew to include 32 countries. The newest members are Finland and Sweden. 

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“America has invested in our alliances and forged new ones, not simply out of altruism, but out of our own self-interest as well,” Biden said. “America’s unique ability to bring countries together is an undeniable source of our strength and our power. Isolationism was not the answer 80 years ago and is not the answer today. We know the dark forces that these heroes fought against 80 years ago. They never failed. Aggression and greed, the desire to dominate and control, to change borders by force. These are perennial. The struggle between a dictatorship and freedom is unending.” 

“Here in Europe, we see one stark example. Ukraine has been invaded by a tyrant bent on domination,” Biden said, referring to Putin without mentioning him by name. “Ukrainians are fighting with extraordinary courage, suffering great losses, but never backing down.”

Biden said 350,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in the conflict, while nearly 1 million people “have left Russia because they can no longer see a future in Russia.” By contrast, he said, the U.S., NATO and a coalition involving more than 50 nations are “standing strong with Ukraine.” 

“We will not walk away. Because if we do, Ukraine will be subjugated and will not end there. Ukraine’s neighbors will be threatened. All of Europe will be threatened,” Biden warned. “And make no mistake, the autocrats of the world are watching closely to see what happens in Ukraine, to see if we let this illegal aggression go unchecked. We cannot let that happen. To surrender to bullies, to bow down to dictators is simply unthinkable.” 

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