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Ukraine updates: Zelenskyy in France for D-Day anniversary

Published June 6, 2024last updated June 7, 2024

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived in Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. DW has the latest.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy shaking hands with Emmanuel Macron
The Ukrainian president said the anniversary was a reminder of soldiers' courage in the pursuit of freedom and democracyImage: Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to Normandy on Thursday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings on D-Day.

While in France, Zelenskyy is due to meet US President Joe Biden for talks on how Ukraine can gain back ground after recent Russian advances.

Here's a look at the latest developments regarding Russia's war in Ukraine on Thursday, June 6.

Skip next section US to send $225m aid package, France to provide Mirage jets
June 7, 2024

US to send $225m aid package, France to provide Mirage jets

The United States will send a further $225 million (€209 million) of military aid to Ukraine, officials said late on Thursday, in a package which will include munitions which Kyiv could use to hit targets inside Russia itself.

The officials told the Associated Press news agency that the support package includes High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rounds as well as HAWK air defense ammunition, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, Javelin anti-armor systems, 155mm Howitzers, armored vehicles, trailers, patrol boats, demolition materials and a wide range of other spare parts and equipment.

Washington recently lifted restrictions on Ukraine using US weapons to strike targets on Russian territory in the wake of continuing Russian attacks on the city of Kharkiv.

Also on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Paris will provide Ukraine with Mirage 2000-5 combat aircraft.

Macron said he will announce on Friday "a new cooperation with Ukraine and the sale of Mirage 2000-5 [jets] … to allow Ukraine to protect its soil [and] airspace" against Russian attacks.

Training of Ukrainian pilots to fly the Mirage 2000-5 — considered one of the best multi-role combat aircraft of the 1990s but soon to be replaced by more modern French Rafale jets — will begin this summer.

Skip next section Zelenskyy receives standing ovation
June 6, 2024

Zelenskyy receives standing ovation

France's President Emmanuel Macron greets Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Zelenskyy was invited to the commemorations, but Russia was notImage: Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy received a standing ovation from leaders and other attendees as he arrived at the D-Day memorial on Omaha Beach in France with his wife Olena Zelenska.

"Thank you to the Ukrainian people for their bravery. We are here and we will not weaken," French President Emmanuel Macron said.

"Faced with the return of war on our continent ... faced with those who purport to change borders by force to re-write history, let us be worthy of those who landed here," he added.

Russia was not invited to take part in the event to mark 80 years since the Normandy landings, despite the Soviet contribution to defeating Nazi Germany — an absence that highlighted Moscow's status as an international pariah.

Skip next section Biden underscores Ukraine support at D-Day memorial
June 6, 2024

Biden underscores Ukraine support at D-Day memorial

US President Joe Biden used his speech at the D-Day memorial in Normandy, France, to draw parallels between the fight for freedom in World War II and his support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.

"We will not walk away because if we do Ukraine will be subjugated and it will not end there," Biden said. "Ukraine's neighbors will be threatened, all of Europe will be threatened."

Biden went on to say that it was "unthinkable" to surrender to bullies.

"If we were to do that, it means we'd be forgetting what happened here on these hallowed beaches," he said.

Skip next section Scholz says peace for Ukraine 'doesn't mean capitulation'
June 6, 2024

Scholz says peace for Ukraine 'doesn't mean capitulation'

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addressed the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, in a statement on national security that also touched on Germany's stance on the war in Ukraine.

The German leader reiterated his support for Ukraine and vowed that "peace does not mean capitulation" and that he refused "to allow the return of war as the continuation of politics by other means."

He clearly stated that Russia was trying to rob Ukraine of its territory in its now nearly two-and-a-half-year-long war of aggression, adding that, "if we were to accept this imperialism … then, especially then … our own security would be under threat and the security of the whole of Europe with it."

Scholz's remarks come just days after a dramatic change of course regarding Ukraine, in which he followed Washington's lead by giving Kyiv permission to use German weapons to strike legitimate military targets inside Russia.

While noting that the decision had been made in "close consultation with our allies," Scholz pointed to Ukraine's right to defend itself against attacks on it territory, its citizens and its sovereignty.

Skip next section Ukraine seeks damages for Russia's destruction of dam
June 6, 2024

Ukraine seeks damages for Russia's destruction of dam

Ukraine's state hydroelectric company Ukrhydroenergo said that it had launched international arbitration to seek compensation for Russia's destruction of the Kakhovka dam and power plant in June 2023.

The company estimated the damage at €2.5 billion ($2.72 billion), it said.

The Kakhovka dam, one of six on the Dnipro River that cuts through central and southern Ukraine, was seized at the start of Moscow's invasion in February 2022.

Russian forces blew up the Kakhovka dam on the night of June 6, 2023, flooding swaths of farmland, leaving tens of thousands of people without drinking water and Europe's largest nuclear power plant without enough water to cool its reactors.

Ukrhydroenergo said the Russian president and government had been officially informed of the dispute.

Electricity from Ukrainian hydroelectric plants is a key source of energy for Ukraine, and the company's plants have been repeatedly targeted by Russian missiles.

Skip next section Zelenskyy arrives in Normandy for D-Day anniversary
June 6, 2024

Zelenskyy arrives in Normandy for D-Day anniversary

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Normandy on Thursday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings on D-Day.

"This event and day serve as a reminder of the courage and determination demonstrated in the pursuit of freedom and democracy. Allies defended Europe's freedom then, and Ukrainians do so now. Unity prevailed then, and true unity can prevail today," he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

While in Normandy, Zelenskyy is due to meet US President Joe Biden for talks on how Ukraine can gain back ground after recent Russian advances.

On Friday, Zelenskyy is also expected to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace and speak to reporters, the French president's office said. 

The two leaders were set to sign two agreements providing €650 million ($707 million) in loans and grants to Ukraine to support local authorities and critical infrastructure, particularly energy facilities, targeted by Russia, Macron's office said.

dh/nm (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)