Volodymyr Zelensky to address French parliament after D-Day landings in World War II

He was due to address the national assembly, France's lower house of parliament, from around 07:45 GMT before talks with Emmanuel Macron later Thursday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo | AP

PARIS: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the French parliament and US President Joe Biden will give a keynote speech on democracy after world leaders marked 80 years since the D-Day landings in World War II on Friday.

Biden, Britain's King Charles III, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday paid tribute to thousands of Allied troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy in northern France on June 6, 1944.

Late Friday, Biden will return to Normandy to give a speech at the Pointe du Hoc, a clifftop promontory where German bunkers were attacked by US troops in a daring assault during the landings, on defending freedom and democracy.

The speech is likely to be seen as a warning against his rival and ex-president Donald Trump in the US presidential election later this year.

An additional guest was Zelensky, in a stark reminder of the war being waged for over two years in Europe following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

He was due to address the national assembly, France's lower house of parliament, from around 07:45 GMT before talks with Macron later Thursday.

Biden also vowed that under his leadership, the United States "will not walk away" from Ukraine "because if we do, Ukraine will be subjugated and it will not end there".

"Ukraine's neighbours will be threatened, all of Europe will be threatened," he said, describing Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "tyrant bent on domination".

French President Emmanuel Macron will also give a keynote speech in Bayeux, the first French town to be liberated from German occupation after D-Day. Thank you to the Ukrainian people for their bravery," Macron said as guests rose in a standing ovation to acknowledge Zelensky, and French jets roared above in a fly-past.

Speaking to French television, Macron said France would transfer Mirage-2000 fighter jets to Ukraine and train Ukrainian pilots as part of a new military cooperation with Kyiv.

Macron said he would propose to Zelensky during talks at the Elysee Palace that the pilots be trained starting this summer.

"You need five to six months to train these pilots and they will be trained in France," he said.

He added that Western allies would consider a request from Ukraine to send military instructors to train its forces on its soil to meet the growing challenge of building up troop numbers.

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