President Joe Biden on Friday expressed regret to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the protracted delay in U.S. military assistance, which had allowed Russia to make significant gains on the battlefield. This apology came during a meeting in Paris, a day after both leaders attended the 80th anniversary events of D-Day in Normandy.

Speaking candidly, Biden addressed the Ukrainian people directly, acknowledging the uncertainty they faced while conservative Republicans in Congress held up a $61 billion military aid package for six months. "You haven't bowed down. You haven't yielded at all," Biden told Zelensky. "You continue to fight in a way that is just remarkable. We're not going to walk away from you."

The president emphasized the unwavering commitment of the American people to Ukraine's cause, saying, "We're still in. Completely. Thoroughly." He added, "You are the bulwark against the aggression that's taking place. We have an obligation to be there."

Zelensky, in turn, appealed for continued bipartisan support from the U.S., drawing a parallel to the solidarity shown during World War II. "It's very important that in this unity, United States of America, all American people stay with Ukraine like it was during World War II," Zelensky said. He thanked lawmakers for eventually coming together to approve the weapons package, which has recently helped Ukraine stem Russian advances.

The U.S. remains Kyiv's largest supplier of wartime support as Ukraine fights to repel an intense Russian offensive in its eastern regions, including Kharkiv and Donetsk. The aid delay had left Ukraine grappling with shortages of ammunition and troops along the roughly 1,000-kilometer front line. The $61 billion aid package, signed into law by Biden in April, is crucial to bolstering Ukraine's defenses.

The delay in delivering Western weaponry has long frustrated Zelensky, compounded by Biden's cautious approach to supplying more hardware, which has at times strained their relationship. However, recent decisions, including allowing Ukraine to use delivered weapons for limited attacks inside Russia, have had a "very positive influence," according to Zelensky.

The announcement of the additional $225 million in military aid during the Paris meeting includes munitions for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), mortar systems, an array of artillery rounds, and missiles for HAWK air defense systems. This aid is part of an ongoing effort to support Ukraine's defense against Russia's invasion.

Biden and Zelensky's attendance at the D-Day anniversary events highlighted the historical parallels between the fight against Nazi Germany and Ukraine's current struggle against Russian aggression. Biden drew a direct line from the efforts to liberate Europe from Nazi domination to the ongoing battle in Ukraine. "We will not walk away," Biden pledged.

In a speech to the French National Assembly, Zelensky invoked the sacrifices made during World War II, emphasizing the significance of the current conflict. "This battle is a crossroads," Zelensky said. "A moment where we can now write history the way we need it. Or we can become victims of history as it suits our enemy."

French President Emmanuel Macron, a vocal supporter of Ukraine, announced that France would provide Ukraine with its Mirage combat aircraft. Macron has been steadfast in his support, stating earlier this year that deploying Western troops to Ukraine is not "ruled out."

Zelensky's visit to Paris included meetings with Macron at the élysée Palace and a visit to the Nexter arms manufacturer in Versailles. These trips aim to keep Ukraine's plight in the public eye, secure more military assistance, and lock in long-term Western support.

France and Ukraine signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement in February, and Zelensky has since secured similar agreements with many European countries. These alliances are crucial for Ukraine as it continues to defend its sovereignty against Russian aggression.