World leaders, veterans mark D-Day’s 80th anniversary in France

Veterans and world leaders have gathered in Normandy, France, to mark the 80th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 D-Day landings, when more than 150,000 Allied soldiers arrived in the country by sea and air to drive out the forces of Nazi Germany.

With war raging in Ukraine, this year’s commemoration of this key turning point in World War II carries special resonance. Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, was not invited.

“This event and day serve as a reminder of the courage and determination demonstrated in the pursuit of freedom and democracy,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a post on X, announcing his arrival to Thursday’s ceremonies in France.

“Allies defended Europe’s freedom then, and Ukrainians do so now. Unity prevailed then, and true unity can prevail today,” he added.

US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Britain’s King Charles and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and many other political figures are taking part in the day of tributes, which started at about 08:30 GMT with a British ceremony in Ver-sur-Mer.

In Arromanches-les-Bains, one of the beaches where Allied troops came ashore 80 years ago, small crowds filtered onto the beach as the tide withdrew on Thursday morning.

They were joined by a collection of second world war Jeeps. Later, an amphibious vehicle came ashore, carrying a bagpiper blasting a sombre tune.

With the number of veterans, many aged 100 or more, fast dwindling, this is likely to be the last significant ceremony in Normandy honouring them in their presence.



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