Thousands of people march on the Day of the Defender of Ukraine. The demonstration took place through the streets of Kiev to the Independence Square.
The date was set on October 14, 2014 “to honor the courage and heroism of the defenders of the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine” during the Crimean conflict and armed hostilities in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The march was also attended by ultra-nationalist groups who later moved to the residence of President Volodímir Zelenski to demand, among other issues:
- The ban on elections in the Donbass area, which is not under the control of Kiev until the territorial integrity of Ukraine is fully restored
- An end to the persecution of veterans of the security operation in the east of the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky paid tribute to the fallen Ukrainians on Defender of the Fatherland Day by laying a wreath in front of the Fallen Wall, located in a central square in Kiev.
“Dear compatriots! I congratulate you on Defender of the Fatherland Day. (…) In these difficult days for Ukraine, you commit heroic acts every day, defend our land from the Russian aggressor with weapons in your hands”, stated, quoted by the Ukrainian Presidency.
After laying the wreath, a minute’s silence was declared, and then a military orchestra performed the national anthem of Ukraine.
In addition, the honor guard fired six salvoes to commemorate those killed during the conflict in the Donbas, where Kiev has been fighting pro-Russian separatist militias since 2014.
In addition to participating in the ceremony, Zelenski visited an exhibition of modern military equipment, where he was able to see the Neptun missile system, the Stuhna anti-tank missile system, the Agema, RSVK-M, Scorpio-2 robotic platforms, and the Grom and Skyfist drones. .
On the occasion of the date, the president signed a decree to extend social assistance to the military and war veterans, which provides for monetary aid on the occasion of Defender of the Fatherland Day.
It also obliges the Government to draft a bill to improve the financial aid system for the military, taking into consideration “the best experiences of the main foreign states.”
The decree also stipulates the creation of regional medical centers to treat and rehabilitate the Ukrainian military and veterans.
Defender of the Fatherland Day was instituted in 2015 in remembrance of the fallen and those who have fought to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and the 77th anniversary of the creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (EIU).
The EIU was a political-military organization created by Ukrainian nationalists that during World War II fought both German troops and the Soviet army.