COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France — The United States and its allies will keep providing “significant” support to Ukraine out of respect for the legacy of D-Day soldiers, whose victory over the Nazis helped lead to a new world order and a “better peace,” Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Monday.
In an interview with The Associated Press overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy, Milley said Russia’s war on Ukraine undermines the rules established by Allied countries after the end of World War II. He spoke on the 78th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Allied troops onto the beaches of France, which led to the overthrow of Nazi Germany’s occupation.
One fundamental rule of the“global rules-based order” is that “countries cannot attack other countries with their military forces in acts of aggression unless it’s an act of pure self-defense,” he stressed. “But that’s not what’s happened here in Ukraine. What’s happened here is an open, unambiguous act of aggression.”
That’s why “the nations of Europe, the nations of NATO, are supporting Ukraine with lethal and nonlethal support in order to make sure that that rule set is underwritten and supported,” Milley explained.
Asked about whether Ukraine gets enough support, Milley noted “there’s a very, very significant battle going on in the Donbas,” in reference to Ukraine’s heavily contested eastern industrial region bordering Russia. “But Kyiv was protected and successfully defended against. The Russians had to shift their forces to the south in the Donbas. And we’ll see how this plays out.”
“I think that the United States and the allied countries are providing a significant amount of support to Ukraine, and that will continue,” he said. He didn’t elaborate.
War in Ukraine Is Similar to World War II
Milley also had strong words about Ukraine at the ceremony at the American Cemetery, attended by more than 20 World War II veterans and several thousand spectators.
“Kiev may be 2,000 kilometers away from here, they too, right now, today, are experiencing the same horrors as the French citizens experienced in World War II at the hands of the Nazi invader,” Milley said in his speech. “Let’s not those only here be the last witnesses to a time when our Allies come together to defeat tyranny.”
Milley’s parents served during World War II and his uncle was in the Navy off Normandy’s coast on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord.