By John Ensor • 24 August 2023 • 10:36
British support for Ukraine.
UKRAINE’S struggle against Russia takes on extra significance today as they celebrate their Independence Day.
The UK has reaffirmed its commitment to Ukraine as it celebrates its Independence Day on Thursday, August 24. This date marks the anniversary of the country’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
The British Ministry of Defence @DefenceHQ took to social media today and announced its unwavering support. The message posted on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) said: ‘We will always be a friend to Ukraine in its fight for freedom.
‘To mark Ukrainian Independence Day today, @SCOTSband performed a special musical tribute outside the iconic Edinburgh Castle.’ The message was followed by emoji flags of the UK and Ukraine with a symbolic handshake.
This was accompanied by a one-and-a-half-minute video of The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland playing ‘Lean On Me’ interspersed with images of the Ukraine military carrying out operations and receiving training from their British counterparts.
After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Ukraine briefly declared independence but was soon absorbed into the Soviet Union. Throughout the Soviet era, Ukraine was forced to accept Russian policies.
In the late 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced reforms, namely glasnost and perestroika aimed at restructuring the Soviet economy and political system. These reforms inadvertently led to rising nationalist sentiments in many Soviet republics, including Ukraine.
On December 1, 1991, a referendum was held in Ukraine, where 92 per cent of participants voted in favour of independence. This was a clear mandate for the country to break away from the Soviet Union.
Exactly one week ago the Principal Deputy spokesperson for the US Department of State reaffirmed his country’s support for Ukraine: ‘… on August 24th, Ukrainians will mark the 32-year anniversary of their declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. This will also be Ukraine’s second Independence Day since Russia’s full-scale, illegal, and unprovoked invasion began on February 22nd.’
He added: ‘The U.S., along with our allies and partners, will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes so Ukraine can defend itself from Russian aggression and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table when the time comes. So I’d like to take the opportunity to say happy Independence Day to the people of Ukraine.’
Before the war, Ukrainians celebrated their Independence Day with parades, concerts and fireworks, something which is not possible under the current circumstances. However, it is expected that the people of Ukraine will hold their own smaller local tributes and celebrations.
According to Visit Ukraine: ‘The threat of Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian territory on Independence Day remains high.’
A spokesperson for the Southern Defence Forces of Ukraine recently ‘noted that Russian missile carriers are currently not on combat duty, which may indicate preparations for a massive attack on August 24.’
Today’s Google has also played its part. The Logo was illustrated by Kyiv-based guest artist Polina Doroshenko.
A statement from Google said: ‘Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow national flag, like the colours represented in today’s artwork, symbolizes the open sky above its endless wheat fields seen throughout the country.
‘Beyond that, it also represents the people’s unbreakable spirit, devotion to the land, and love for freedom. The Doodle artwork depicts a parade representing all Ukrainians showing their pride and confidence, moving into the future.’
Given the ongoing conflict, Ukraine’s Independence Day has taken on added significance. It serves as a reminder of the country’s hard-fought sovereignty and the tragic human cost suffered by its people.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.
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