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Zelensky arrives in France for D-Day commemorations on June 6, 2024. (Volodymyr Zelensky / Telegram)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in France ahead of the commemorations of the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy on June 6.

The event marks the day on June 6, 1944, when 7,000 boats carrying nearly 160,000 troops from eight Allied countries landed on five Normandy beaches. The landing was the starting point for the liberation of France, and eventually the rest of Western Europe, from Nazi Germany.

Zelensky will join French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Joe Biden, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among other leaders and surviving veterans in attendance.

Zelensky said he was "very honored to take part" in the event, which serves as a "reminder of the courage and determination shown for the sake of freedom and democracy."

Macron is expected to preside over an international ceremony at 3 p.m. local time. World leaders will then gather in the nearby city of Caen for talks later in the day.

"As we reflect on the sacrifices made on D-Day, we are reminded that freedom is not free and it has never been guaranteed," Biden said in a statement ahead of the commemoration on June 4.

According to Politico, France initially invited a representative from Russia to take part in the commemoration due to the Soviet Union's role in the war against Nazi Germany, but this invitation was revoked after the U.S., U.K., and "two other World War II allies expressed concerns."

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the D-Day commorations in 2004 and again in 2014, months after Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of Donbas.

During this year's commemoration, Macron is reportedly expected to make an announcement on support for Kyiv. News emerged at the end of May that Paris could soon send its military trainers to Ukraine.

Zelensky's attendance at the commemoration in France follows his visit to Qatar, a country that has acted as a mediator between Kyiv and Moscow to bring back Ukrainian children illegally held by Russia.

Zelensky's next international visit is expected to be to Italy for the Group of Seven (G7) summit on June 13, where he will likely call on Western partners to seize Russian assets to help fund Ukraine's defense and reconstruction.

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Ukraine's GDP grew by more than 4% in 6 months.

"Due to the high adaptability to difficult conditions and experience in responding to such challenges, the Ukrainian economy continued to grow" in June, said Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko.
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