Biden Will Link Fight for Ukraine With Allied Effort on D-Day


President Biden will observe the 80th anniversary of D-Day on the beaches of Normandy on Thursday by asserting that the allied effort to stand up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a direct extension of the battle for freedom that raged across Europe during World War II.

Mr. Biden, 81, who was a toddler when Americans stormed the beaches here in 1944, will almost certainly be the last U.S. president to speak at a Normandy remembrance who was alive at the time Allied forces began to push Adolf Hitler out of Europe.

Now, eight decades later, Mr. Biden is leading a coalition of European and other nations in a very different war on the continent, but for a very similar principle — pushing back against the attempted seizure of Ukraine by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

In remarks at the Normandy American Cemetery, the president will draw a direct line between the two, connected by the defense of a rules-based international order.

“Today, in 2024, 80 years later, we see dictators once again attempting to challenge the order, attempting to march in Europe,” said Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser. He told reporters that Mr. Biden would make the case that “freedom-loving nations need to rally to stand against that as we have.”

Mr. Biden’s remarks at the cemetery, where 9,388 members of the American military are buried, will be the beginning of a four-day visit to France, which will include a second speech on Friday and a state dinner hosted by President Emmanuel Macron of France on Saturday. He will return to Europe a few days later, for a meeting of the leaders of the Group of 7 nations in Apulia, Italy.

After his remarks at the cemetery, Mr. Biden will join Mr. Macron and others at Omaha Beach, site of some of the heaviest, deadliest fighting between U.S. forces and the German occupiers in France.

American officials said the somber backdrop of Normandy — where the allies helped turn the tide after more than four years of war — is meant to underscore the stakes for Europe and the world if the United States and its fellow nations lose their resolve and let Mr. Putin win.

Mr. Biden has said that the months of congressional refusal to approve funding for Ukraine set back the war effort there, giving Russian forces the opportunity to push forward along battle lines in the north and east of the country.

Mr. Sullivan said that the president would deliver a speech “that will talk about, against the backdrop of war in Europe today, the sacrifices that those heroes and those veterans made 80 years ago and how it’s our obligation to continue their mission to fight for freedom.”

On Friday, aides said Mr. Biden will return to the beaches of Normandy to deliver a second speech, this time at Pointe du Hoc, where Army Rangers scaled huge cliffs in an effort to secure critical military positions held by the Germans.

Officials said that the president would use that backdrop to make a broader point about the dangers of isolationism and the need to protect and nurture democracy. John F. Kirby, a retired Navy admiral and the White House national security spokesman, said the speech would be different from previous addresses by Mr. Biden on the topic of protecting democracy.

“You can point to real lives that were impacted at Pointe du Hoc,” he said. “You can point to real blood that was spilled in pursuit of that loftier goal. And you can tell stories about real men who climbed real cliffs and faced real bullets and real danger in the pursuit of something a whole hell of a lot bigger than themselves.”



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