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Zelenskyy to French lawmakers: ‘Nazism is resurgent’

by editor

PARIS — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy compared Ukraine’s struggle against Russia’s aggression to the fight against Nazi Germany in a speech rife with symbolism before the French National Assembly on Friday.

“Our Europe is the result of the courage of men and women at that time,” Zelenskyy said.

However, Zelenskyy added that the hard-fought peace won by the Allied troops is again at risk.

“We live at a time when Europe is unfortunately no longer a continent of peace, and at a time when Nazism is making a comeback,” Zelenskyy said. “Once again there are those who seek to divide Europe, who say that such or such peoples do not deserve to exist — all this is aimed at Ukraine today, but may be aimed at other countries tomorrow.”

The Ukrainian leader is in France for a visit planned around attending Thursday’s commemorations marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The day’s events saw world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden also use their speeches to draw parallels between World War II and Russian aggression today.

Zelenskyy had already called Russia’s Vladimir Putin a “Nazi” last month ahead of the May 9 Victory Day holiday in Russia, while the Russian leader has on multiple occasions justified his aggression against Ukraine by the supposed need to “de-nazify” the country.

In his address on Thursday, Zelenskyy also drew parallels between the Russian military’s alleged human rights abuses in Ukraine and the Holocaust.

“Once again in Europe, filtration and deportation camps are springing up and hatred is growing,” Zelenskyy told the French National Assembly which, in the last day of campaigning for the European election, was far from full.

Zelenskyy’s invitation to deliver a speech led to some criticism from opposition lawmakers, who viewed it as a political stunt by the pro-Macron camp ahead of Sunday’s vote. The president’s allies in the National Assembly hit back by saying that commemoration dates could not be moved around for political purposes.

Macron’s critics also accused him of using an interview with the two main French news broadcasters on Thursday to skirt regulations meant to give political parties equal air time for campaigning.

During the interview, Macron announced that France would send Mirage 2000 fighter jets to Ukraine — a move which would significantly increase Paris’ direct military support to Kyiv. France had until recently stopped short of donating fighter jets to the country, arguing that Kyiv’s focus should be on obtaining and training on F-16s.

Ukraine has been begging its Western allies to increase and speed up weapon deliveries as Kyiv tries to halt Russia’s momentum on the battlefield.

“I’m grateful for what you’re already doing — and it’s a lot. But in order to achieve a just peace we need more, and that’s not a reproach,” Zelenskyy said.

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