Written by 23:57 World

Biden Apologizes to Zelensky in France

POINTE DU HOC — President Biden used the backdrop of the beaches at Normandy on Friday to argue that the fight for democracy in Ukraine and elsewhere remains as vital as the day that American troops helped rescue Europe from Hitler’s tyranny.

On a clear and sunny afternoon overlooking Utah and Omaha beaches, the president evoked “the ghosts of Pointe du Hoc,” the Army Rangers who scaled cliffs in the face of withering German fire, to link the struggle for freedom during World War II with the fight for democracy now — both in Ukraine and in the voting booths at home.

“As we gather here today,” he said in a televised speech marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, “it’s not just to honor those who showed such remarkable bravery that day, June 6, 1944. It’s to listen to the echo of their voices. To hear them. Because they are summoning us.”

“They’re not asking us to scale these cliffs,” Mr. Biden added, as he stood on top of a concrete German bunker overlooking the English Channel. “They’re asking us to stay true to what America stands for.”

But the enormity of his challenge was on display earlier on Friday. His call for American resolve in defense of democracy came just hours after he felt compelled to apologize to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine for the political stalemate in Washington that delayed critical American military aid for months.

In a meeting in Paris before flying to Normandy, Mr. Biden blamed House Republicans for the funding delay, which frustrated Ukrainians and arguably helped President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and his forces shift momentum on the battlefield more than two years after its full-scale invasion.

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Last modified: 7 June 2024
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