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Ukraine celebrates 31st independence anniversary amid Russia’s invasion

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RESIDENTS of Kyiv woke up to air raid sirens as Ukraine observed its 31st Independence Day on Wednesday, which also marked exactly six months since the start of Russia’s military invasion.

Last year, crowds turned out in Kyiv to watch a military parade marking Ukraine’s 30th independence anniversary, but this year, the celebration was solemn following a ban on large-scale gatherings. Only a few residents gathered at Kyiv’s Central Square, where destroyed Russian tanks and mobile artillery were put on display.


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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated the nation on its resilience and celebrated Ukraine’s continued independence in a speech from Kyiv shared on social media on Wednesday.

Reflecting on the impact of the war in Ukraine on the international community, Zelensky said: “Yesterday the world was not united. COVID-19 clearly showed: it’s every man for himself. Ukraine has changed this in six months. All world history textbooks will have a section ‘Times when Ukraine united the world.

“The occupier believed that in a few days he would be on parade in our capital’s downtown. Today, you can see this ‘parade’. The proof that enemy equipment can appear in the center of Kyiv only in such form. Burnt, wrecked and destroyed.”

The President said every new day was a new reason not to give up and urged the public to remain vigilant as Russian provocations and brutal strikes were a possibility.

“Please strictly follow the safety rules. Please observe the curfew. Pay attention to the air sirens. Pay attention to official announcements. And remember: We must all achieve victory together,” Zelensky added.

The head of Kyiv’s Military Administration Mykola Zhyrnov said events have been banned in the capital and other cities until Thursday so that security forces can respond more efficiently to potential Russian attacks.

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