WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in observance of the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, a day marking the end of World War II in Europe:
“75 years ago, Allies from Europe, the United States, and around the world came together to defeat a Nazi regime responsible for the holocaust and millions dead across the continent. I join the people of Europe, and those around the world, in celebrating the 75th anniversary of V-E Day and remembering the victims of World War II.
“The victory in Europe paved the way for a rules-based international order that ushered in unprecedented levels of peace and prosperity for many countries, including the United States. Unfortunately, not all of Europe was free to experience this success. For decades the Soviet Union denied basic rights to the millions of people in Europe trapped under its iron rule, from the Baltics to Poland to Ukraine. The people of these nations stood up to Soviet repression and demanded respect for their human rights, the power to choose their own leaders, and freedom for their countries. Their voices were heard. Thanks to their courage, millions more people now enjoy the rights and prosperity that come with living in a rules-based democracy.
“The fight for freedom, democracy, and rule of law in Europe did not end on V-E Day, and it continues today even after the fall of the Soviet Union. Some European countries still face serious threats to the rules-based democracies their citizens fought so hard to create, from governments that openly violate countries’ sovereign borders to actors who undermine democracy and rule of law both from outside Europe and from within. While the world has changed significantly in the past 75 years, the importance of shared values and a rules-based international system has not. As we commemorate V-E Day, I call on all those celebrating this victory to reaffirm their commitment to respecting sovereign borders, and their commitment to upholding the values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law for all.”