June 20, 2024

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[IMAGES] 80 Years of D-Day: Allies Without Russia Commemorate in Normandy

[IMAGES] 80 Years of D-Day: Allies Without Russia Commemorate in Normandy

Eight decades later, on “bloody” Omaha Beach, against the “occupier”: Allies meet in Normandy on Thursday without Russia, but with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, as war rages again in Europe to celebrate victory over Nazism.

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US Presidents Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are among some twenty heads of state and government expected.

They would set foot on the most iconic beach of the Landings near Bayeux (Calvados), where the first American soldiers landed at dawn on June 6, 1944, and the Allies lost more men to the deluge of German fire.


In the surrounding villages, many homes decorated their gardens with American, British, Canadian and French flags.


The boats will be back in force at Omaha Beach before the ceremony starts at 3:30pm (1:30pm GMT). A historical reenactment of the landing will continue, in several tables, as well as an overview of Douglas C-47s named “Dakota”.


In the morning, national ceremonies will be held, led by King Charles III, President Biden and Justin Trudeau, in the presence of the last veterans.


Arriving in Paris on Wednesday, the US president, who was born before the end of World War II, will meet soldiers who took part in the landings at the American Cemetery in Colville-sur-Mer. He will give a speech there before spending the evening with his wife, Jill Biden.

The landings, organized in great secrecy by the Americans, British and Canadians, would pave the way for the liberation of France and the defeat of Nazi Germany.


But 80 years after this titanic operation, all eyes will be on Ukraine, and the outcome of a deadly Russian attack from February 2022 is still far away.


Putin’s “Betrayal”

As a result of this “war of aggression,” Paris confirmed, Russia, one of Nazism’s greatest triumphs, now a pariah on the Western international stage, was formally excluded from the celebrations.

In 2014, President Vladimir Putin was in the name of seeking peace despite having annexed Crimea three months earlier.

He later met with Ukrainian representative Petro Poroshenko at the initiative of French President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But the popular “Normandy-style” dialogue, set up as an attempt to end the pro-Russian separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, later broke down and led to war.

After the failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the second half of 2023, Russia, which already occupies almost 20% of the territory of its neighbors, continues to advance from the east to the north of the country.

“This war of aggression is a betrayal of the messages of the landing,” Emmanuel Macron explained in the Quotitidian program on TMC, justifying his uninvited “wrote” to Vladimir Putin.

Three days before the European elections, the French president, who wants to make these commemorations a major international event, will give a speech in Omaha Beach, followed by an interview on TF1 and France 2’s “JT”.

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The president has been widely criticized by the opposition, as usual, on the home stretch of the campaign.

The head of state will receive his Ukrainian counterpart in Paris on Friday, an opportunity to make new announcements on military aid, and then President Biden will pay a state visit to the capital on Saturday.


Joe Biden, for his part, will praise America’s alliances and plead for democracy, and will have every opportunity to continue his battle with Donald Trump from a distance.

America’s allies fear that the US’s new isolationist turn could be dangerous for Ukraine in the face of Russia if its Republican predecessor wins in November.

On Wednesday, on the first day of commemoration, Emmanuel Macron praised the “spirit of sacrifice” of the liberators and paid tribute to the civilian victims of allied bombings.

“I know our country is strong in its brave, heroic youth, ready for the same spirit of sacrifice as its elders,” he declared, paying tribute to the Breton resistance fighters and the paratroopers of Free France, the British special forces. , in Blumelech (Morbihan).

In Saint-Lô (Manche), devastated by Allied bombing on the night of June 6-7, 1944, he called for “clear and powerful recognition” of the civilian victims who died “for freedom and homeland.”

On Wednesday evening, he paid tribute to Kane prisoners, mainly resistance fighters, who had been shot by the Germans during the landing.

On Friday, June 14, 1944, General de Gaulle outlined his presidential plan for France in June 1946, in the same place he had spoken after the landings.

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