Biden to meet with Zelensky in Normandy and at next week’s G7, White House says

Biden to meet with Zelensky in Normandy and at next week’s G7, White House says
  • PublishedJune 5, 2024

President Joe Biden will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky while he is in Normandy, France, according to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

“While he’s in Normandy, he’ll have the opportunity to sit down with President Zelensky and have an engagement with him to talk about the state of play in Ukraine and how we can continue and deepen our support for Ukraine,” Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One while en route to France.

Biden and Zelensky will be in the French region to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a moment made all the more timely given that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought a large-scale ground war back to Europe for the first time since 1945.

Also attending the anniversary will be living veterans of the historic seaborne invasion and many other heads of state and government — including British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. CNN previously reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not extended an invitation, according to a French presidential source.

Sullivan added that Biden is also expected to meet with Zelensky during the G7 in Italy next week.

“In the course of a little more than a week, the president will have two substantive engagements with President Zelensky,” Sullivan said.

The two leaders last met in person when Zelensky was in Washington, DC, in December 2023 to make an in-person plea for military and economic aid. Biden would eventually sign in April a bill providing over $60 billion in aid for the US ally after several months of political wrangling on Capitol Hill. The delay kept Ukraine’s forces significantly outgunned against Russia, which launched a surprise offensive in the northeastern region of Kharkiv last month.

Sullivan said the US plans to announce in coming weeks the delivery of additional “substantial capability to Ukraine,” but he made clear that the US will not send military personnel to the country, even in a training capacity, amid reports that France may send military instructors to Ukrainian territory.

“I will point out that the United States has stood up a substantial training infrastructure in Germany. It has trained thousands of Ukrainian soldiers on Western made equipment. We stand ready to continue and in fact, expand that training,” he told reporters. “We have communicated that directly to the Ukrainians.”

Asked about US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s work to rally European support to tap Russian overseas assets to help Ukraine, Sullivan said securing additional assistance for the war-torn country will be a “substantial agenda item” in Biden’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron while in Normandy.

“This is a priority for the United States,” Sullivan said. “We believe it’s a priority for the entire G7. We want to see every country come on board with a method by which we can mobilize resources for Ukraine at scale, so that they are able to have what they need to be able to succeed in this war.”

Sullivan also previewed Biden’s expected speech later this week that will take place at Pointe du Hoc, where US Army Rangers scaled the 100 foot cliffs 80 years ago to destroy the German positions overlooking the beach.

Biden in his remarks there will talk about how the battle was “an existential fight between dictatorship and freedom,” how the men fighting that day “put the country ahead of themselves” and about “the dangers of isolationism,” Sullivan told reporters.

The national security adviser added that Biden will “be drawing a throughline from World War II through the Cold War and the stand up of the greatest military alliance the world has ever known, the NATO alliance, to today, where we face once again war in Europe, where NATO has rallied to defend freedom and sovereignty in Europe.”


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