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Zelensky meets D-Day veteran, both insist the other is the real hero

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 6, 2024 7:40 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky meets D-Day veterans in Normandy, France, on June 6, 2024. (LCI screenshot/Twitter)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky met with veterans at the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, on June 6, with one encounter prompting a standing ovation and a discussion about who the real hero is.

Zelensky was introduced to one elderly former U.S. serviceman by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As the veteran went to kiss his hand, the Ukrainian president instead embraced him.

"You are the savior of the people," the veteran told him in scenes broadcast by French TV channel LCI.

"No, no – you saved Europe," Zelensky replied.

As the pair posed for a photograph, the encounter was broadcast on screens at the venue, prompting the crowd to give them a standing ovation.

"You're our hero," the veteran said.

"No, you are our hero," Zelensky insisted.

After more hand-shaking, the veteran said: "I pray for you."

In a speech earlier in the day, U.S. President Joe Biden reaffirmed support for Ukraine in its fight against a "tyrant bent on domination."

Speaking in front of 180 World War II veterans, Biden linked the struggle against the fascism of Nazi Germany with that of Kyiv's against Russia.

"We know the dark forces that these heroes fought against 80 years ago; they never fade," he said, adding: "Aggression and greed, the desire to dominate and control, to change borders by force — these are perennial. The struggle between dictatorship and freedom is unending."

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to take part in the commemoration due to the Soviet Union's role in the war against Nazi Germany, but this invitation was revoked after the U.S., U.K., and "two other World War II allies expressed concerns."

‘A tyrant bent on domination,’ Biden says of Putin during D-Day speech
Speaking in front of 180 World War 2 veterans, Biden linked the struggle against the fascism of Nazi Germany with that of Kyiv’s against Russia.

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