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France’s Ukrainian community protests inviting Russia to D-Day anniversary

#DiasporaNews
May 27,2024 635
France’s Ukrainian community protests inviting Russia to D-Day anniversary

The Association of Ukrainians in France and other Ukrainian organizations are urging French authorities to rescind Russia’s invitation to the 80th anniversary celebrations of the allies’ Normandy landings, which marked the opening of the second front in World War II. The event is scheduled for June 6.

The organizers have extended an invitation to the Russian diplomatic mission in France. It remains unclear who will represent the aggressor country at the event. “Given the circumstances, President Putin will not be invited,” writes Europe1, citing the “Liberation” mission responsible for organizing the commemoration.

Russia is invited to “honor the importance of the commitments and sacrifices of the Soviet people and its contribution to the victory of 1945,” the message also states.

The Ukrainian World Congress and the Association of Ukrainians in France have expressed their outrage over the decision and are demanding the cancellation of the invitation. Leading Ukrainian organizations in France have signed a letter addressed to French President Emmanuel Macron.

“With alarm and indignation, Ukrainians in France learned about the invitation for Russia to participate in the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy. The landing operation on June 6, 1944, was a decisive event in the fight against fascism and tyranny and symbolized hope and freedom for millions of oppressed people across Europe, as well as the allies’ commitment to sacrifice their lives for a better world,” the letter states.

Activists emphasize that under Vladimir Putin’s regime, Russia embodies the very dark forces the Allies fought against. They highlight that Russia’s illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine constitutes a gross violation of international law and an assault on fundamental democratic values.

“The presence of Russia at the commemoration would devalue the suffering of the Ukrainian people and the memory of all those who fought and died for freedom and democracy,” the letter concludes.

Inviting the aggressor country is a political and historical mistake, according to Volodymyr Kogutyak, UWC Vice President for Western Europe and Vice President of the Association of Ukrainians in France. “There are things that are absolutely incompatible. It would be extremely offensive to see representatives of the Russian Federation at the ceremony, which, 80 years later, is once again trying to return Europe to the dark past that our grandmothers and grandfathers remember so painfully,” says Kogutyak.

Cover: AFP

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