U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley told a group of World War II veterans Monday on the 78th anniversary of D-Day that the ongoing war in Ukraine is about "honoring" them as the world has come together "against a determined invader."
Milley made the remark in front of more than 20 veterans and a crowd of several thousand that gathered at the American Cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha Beach, to pay tribute to the fallen U.S. troops in France.
"The world has come together in support of the defense of Ukraine against a determined invader," Milley said, according to the Associated Press. "The fight in Ukraine is about honoring these veterans of World War II."
"Kyiv 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," added the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Milley also said the war is about "maintaining the so-called global rules-based international order that was established by the dead who are buried here at this cemetery."
Milley recalled the principle underlined in that order that "strong countries cannot just invade small countries.
"Each country is sovereign and each country has the right to territorial integrity," he said to the crowd.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, is now in its 103rd day.
In late May, Ukrainians signaled overwhelming opposition to giving their land to Russia, with 82% of Ukrainians in a poll saying they do not support territorial concessions as part of any peace deal, even if it meant prolonging the war as a result.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.