Ukraine Celebrates 23 Years of Independence

Ukraine Celebrates 23 Years of Independence

On August 24, 1991, Ukraine’s parliament adopted The Act of Declaration of Independence, thus freeing the country from the USSR. Twenty-three years later, Ukraine is still fighting against Russia, but the war in the east and tensions with Russia did not stop Ukrainians all over the world from celebrating their independence.

In Kiev, signs of the Euromaidan protest are gone. Instead, blue and yellow flags waved in the air against a blue sky in Independence Square. Buildings burned during Euromaidan were covered with blue and yellow. People dressed in “garlands of flowers and embroidered vyshyvankas,” which are traditional Ukrainian clothes with Ukrainian ethnic embroidery. 

Kyiv’s idea of an Independance Day EMPR News #Ukraine

— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) August 24, 2014

For the first time since 2009, Kiev held a military Independence Day parade. Former Russia-backed President Viktor Yanukovych cancelled them in 2010 to save money. People criticized President Petro Poroshenko’s decision to hold a military parade because the army should be in the east to fight the separatists. According to Poroshenko, the army commanders approved the parade and said the soldiers will return to the east after celebrations.

Poroshenko and his family placed wreaths at the shrine for the 100 people killed by police during the Euromaidan protests before the parade. Out of the 1,500 service personnel, 120 men witnessed “action on the eastern front in areas near rebel-strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk.” Poroshenko spoke to the crowd as well.

“Never in 23 years has this day been so majestic as today,” he said. “People have never celebrated it as sincerely as today, with Ukrainian flag in every window, on every balcony. And all of it is happening despite hard times for the country. The war against foreign aggression. For Ukraine, for its will, dignity and glory, for the people. For independence.”

Poroshenko announced a $3 billion on military spending.

“We must always be ready to defend independence,” he said. “We will manage to defend our independence, life and the security of everyone, our right to live freely on our Ukrainian land at the cost of colossal efforts of the entire nation.”

After Kiev, Poroshenko flew to Odessa.