Sunday, August 24, 2014
23rd Anniversary of Ukrainian Independence
With Ukraine embroiled in a life-and-death war with Russia, it is heartening to recognize that the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, is an self-confident Ukraine patriot, who has not shirked his leadership responsibility in these times that try men’s souls, and is capable of rallying the Ukrainian nation not only to defend Ukraine and reaffirm its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Without overestimating his vast enlightening influence on Ukrainians, Petro Poroshenko is the Ukrainian leader whose time has come.
Assuming the presidency at a time of Ukraine’s war with its age-old nemesis, Russia, Poroshenko has stood shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainian people, encouraging them to soldier on and consoling them when they buried their dead. He has looked Putin in the eye without blinking and he has called on the world leaders to stand up and support Ukraine now.
Taking part in the Independence Day military parade is a president responsibility, also performed Poroshenko’s predecessors but his message far surpassed anything that they have uttered.
Today, Poroshenko declared: “We swear allegiance to you, Ukraine!” on the occasion of the 23rd Anniversary of the Independence of Ukraine, converting all who heard and read these words into one, unitary Ukrainian family.
He also emphasized: “Never in 23 years has this day been so majestic as today. 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.”
Poroshenko acknowledged that developments of recent months are a real war for Ukraine – not a hybrid war as some in the West would call it – though it hasn’t been declared as such. He predicted that perhaps it will go down in history as Patriotic War 2014.
“The war against foreign aggression. For Ukraine, for its will, dignity and glory, for the people. For Independence,” Poroshenko said, reinforcing in the minds of Ukrainians everywhere that this inevitable war with Russia is about the livelihood of future generations of Ukrainians. Undoubtedly, what is happening today should have happed 23 years ago for a revolution or war of independence that is not blessed by blood does not have staying power.
Poroshenko emphasized that fight for victory became a nationwide movement, a matter of urgency for everyone. “I am confident that the battle for Ukraine, for independence will end up successfully for us due to the nationwide solidarity multiplied by courage and heroism of our warriors,” he stated.
Poroshenko said a new Ukrainian army was born in the past six months under hell fire and brimstone battles. The expression “defender of Motherland” has received concrete meaning, he said. “There are a lot of battles and dates in the heroic chronicle of the Ukrainian army worthy to become the Day of Defender of Motherland. Ukraine will never again celebrate this holiday under military-historical calendar of the neighboring country. We will honor defenders of our Motherland, not someone else’s!” Poroshenko emphasized, tearing yet another chain that has linked Ukraine to Russia for too long.
Poroshenko thanked warriors for their allegiance to oath, service to Ukraine, their sacrificial defense and noted that he would like to bow to every Ukrainian woman “who lost husband or son, grandson or brother … who believes in victory and is waiting for the return of her native, best, beloved.”
Poroshenko expressed particular gratitude to volunteers. “Your help has been especially important in the first weeks of aggression when we inherited the state without army, police, special services, weapons,” the President said.
At this point we’d like to pay our respect to the only Ukrainian American who gave his life for Ukraine’s independence – Mark Paslawsky who was killed in combat in Donbas.
“Our enemy has been training hard for a long time to attack Ukraine. And we were not prepared for such an insidious treachery,” the President emphasized recalling the ancient Roman wisdom: “Si vis pacem, para bellum” – “If you want peace, prepare for war.”
Emphasizing that war was not Ukraine’s initiative and it had been launched from abroad, Poroshenko noted: “Our choice is peace, implementation of the peace plan for the Donbas which I have elaborated and offered in June already. But steps towards peace cannot be unilateral and be made at the cost of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine.”
Noting that unfortunately Ukraine will always face a military threat, Poroshenko said Ukrainians must learn to live with that. “We must always be ready to defend independence,” he said revealing that billions of hryven would be allocated for the upgrade of arms and military equipment already until the end of the year. It is planned to allocate 40 billion hryven for the rearmament and upgrade of military equipment in 2015-2017.
“We will manage to defend the Independence, life and security of everyone, our right to live freely on our Ukrainian land at the cost of colossal efforts of the entire nation,” Poroshenko said.
Poroshenko’s words today have something in common with Roosevelt and Churchill, whose oratory contributed to the free world’s defeat of Hitler’s Nazi Germany in 1945.
We wish Ukraine and President Poroshenko the same good fortune on Ukrainian Independence Day 2014.