Biden, Macron and Zelensky escalate war threats against Russia at D-Day commemoration

U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris, Friday, June 7, 2024. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]

The day after the official commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Allies’ D-Day landings in Normandy during World War II, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron for continuing ceremonies in France.

These meetings come at a dangerous point in the two-year-old war between NATO and Russia in Ukraine. As the NATO-backed Ukrainian regime faces military collapse, NATO is giving long-range missiles to Ukraine to strike Russia and threatening to send troops directly to Ukraine. Yesterday, aided by Zelensky, Biden and Macron cynically tried to invoke the US-British-Canadian landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944 to legitimize their escalation against Russia that threatens to plunge Europe into a new world war.

The invocations of the Normandy landings to justify the NATO war with Russia are political lies based on historical falsifications. This began yesterday with the speech Zelensky gave in the morning to the French National Assembly. Baldly equating Russian President Vladimir Putin with Hitler, Zelensky claimed his regime was the inheritor of the battles in Normandy.

Zelensky told the Assembly: “It is truly this battle that was won that we are commemorating here, and we are proud to be the inheritors of those who participated in it.”

Asking whether Putin “can win this battle” today, Zelensky replied to his own question: “We do not have the right to lose. This war may spread, just like the war 80 years ago. … In the 1930s, Hitler crossed one line after the other. Putin is doing the same.”

Zelensky denounced Putin who, he said, “has already destroyed Syria, is disrupting the Sahel.” He concluded by praising French arms deliveries to Ukraine, including Macron’s pledge to send French soldiers and nuclear-capable Mirage 2000 fighter jets. “Thank you to France for having chosen without hesitation the side of humanity in this war, that of culture and international law.”

This is far-right war propaganda. The parallels Zelensky drew of Putin with Hitler, and of NATO’s war against Russia with the Allies’ war against Nazi Germany, falsify the entire course of European history. In the current war, it is not Russia, but the NATO imperialist powers that play the most aggressive, reactionary role.

Russia, unlike Nazi Germany, is not an imperialist power that has conquered all of Europe in a series of acts of military aggression costing the lives of tens of millions. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the NATO alliance aggressively expanded up to Russia’s borders, violating pledges made to Russian officials not to do so. Now, NATO is set to launch its missiles from Ukraine for strikes on Russian soil and is threatening to deploy its armies to Ukraine to fight Russia.

Zelensky’s references to Putin’s role in Syria and the Sahel point to some of the reasons why French imperialism embarked on this monumentally reckless policy. After the wars NATO and France launched in Syria in 2011 and Mali in 2013 failed to achieve their objectives of regime change, these countries’ governments have invited Russian troops to assist them. This outrages French imperialism, which believes itself entitled to control these countries in its former colonial empire.

Zelensky’s claim that France supports “culture and international law” is a transparent lie. Macron’s government has relentlessly backed the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Moreover, however bankrupt and reactionary Putin’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine was, it does not change the fact that Zelensky’s regime is based on neo-fascist descendants of Nazi-collaborationist forces led by Stepan Bandera in Ukraine. Not only are many top officials in Zelensky’s government followers of Bandera, but many of the Ukrainian militias fighting the Russian army in Ukraine are neo-Nazi units.

The neo-Nazi loyalties of Ukrainian shock troops, routinely denied in French media propaganda, surfaced last month when reports emerged that the French army base in the Creuse region is training neo-Nazis in Ukraine’s Azov Battalion who sport large “SS” tattoos.

The sympathies of the Azov Battalion, were they transported back to 1944, would not be with, but against the troops landing in Normandy. The Azov Battalion has as its symbol the Wolfsangel, the symbol of the Nazi SS Das Reich division. This division carried out the June 10, 1944 massacre of the French village of Ouradour-sur-Glane, modeled on SS massacres in the Soviet Union, as it passed north through the Limousin region, near the Creuse, on its way to fight the Allied troops who had just landed in Normandy.

Nevertheless, over the course of yesterday, Biden and Macron announced vast new grants of weapons to the Ukrainian army to escalate the war with Russia. Washington will send a raft of anti-aircraft missiles, artillery and shells, as well as anti-tank missiles and small arms. Paris pledged to send an air defense system and also to set up production facilities of the Franco-German arms manufacturer KNDS inside Ukraine.

Russian officials responded by again warning that NATO is on the verge of provoking a direct conflict between nuclear-armed powers. Macron’s remarks showed, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said, that France “is ready to participate directly in the conflict. Let us say that Mr. Macron is showing absolute support to the Ukrainian regime and is declaring that the French Republic is ready to participate directly in the military conflict.”

The conclusion of the day’s events were Biden’s remarks at the Pointe du Hoc, in Normandy, which was scaled by US Army Rangers during the landings. Biden claimed that soldiers who fought at the Pointe du Hoc were “summoning us” to support the policies of his administration.

Biden said, “They’re not asking us to scale these cliffs. But they’re asking us to stay true to what America stands for. They’re not asking us to give or risk our lives. But they are asking us to care for others in our country more than ourselves. They’re asking us to do our job, to protect freedom in our time, to defend democracy, to stand up to aggression abroad and at home to be part of something bigger than ourselves.”

This empty invocation of democratic traditions and of opposition to Nazism is directly contradicted by the actual content of the policies the imperialist powers are carrying out. In reality, Washington and its NATO allies are backing far-right forces in Ukraine and the far-right regime in Israel to wage imperialist war and support genocide.