read the news // live the culture
The Upcoming | Read the news // Live the culture
Saturday 1st November 2014
Menu
Current affairsNewsPolitics and social issues

Ukraine celebrates independence day with army parade while fighting continues in the east

  Sunday 24th August 2014
  Sunday 24th August 2014

Ukraine celebrated its 23rd year of independence from the Soviet Union today, while the future of east Ukraine remains in dispute.

Unrest continues in the east while Ukraine celebrated its 23rd independence day with military and naval parades today.

The celebrations saw a military parade in Kiev before thousands of Ukrainians dressed in the colours yellow and blue in respect of their national flag, as well as a naval procession was held in the port city of Odessa.

Speaking in the Maidan, Kiev’s independence square, president Petro Poroshenko promised to defend the country’s self-determination from pro-Russian separatists and pledged to spend $3bn to re-equip armed forces.

The fund will be used over a two-year span from 2015-17 and is intended to combat the “constant military threat” faced by the Ukrainian government.

The president waved through the Soviet-reminiscent parade of 18,000 troops – soon to be deployed to Crimea and Eastern regions – and stated: “In the 21st century, in the centre of Europe, there is a flagrant attempt to breach the border of sovereign state without declaring war. It is as if the world has returned to the 1930s, on the eve of World War II.”

In today’s celebration wreaths were also laid to pay tribute to those killed in the winter protests that saw the defeat of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych and triggered the Russian annexation of Crimea in February.

Shortly before the march started, Donetsk – one of the disputed eastern areas – was hit by shelling where the pro-Russian rebels vowed to hold their own parade and to display captured government soldiers. An announcement on a rebel social media account called for an “anti-fascist rally” in response to the government celebrations.

Agence France-Presse correspondent in Donetsk recorded two civilian deaths on Saturday. Since the escalation of violence earlier this year, over 2,000 have been killed and more than 330,000 civilians have fled their homes in the disputed regions, according to UN estimates.

The landmark day comes in the wake of global condemnation of the Russian government’s actions in Ukraine, after a Russian aid convoy entered the state on Friday. The convoy, containing 227 vehicles and branded “essential” by the Kremlin, returned to Russia after Western criticism. While US president Barack Obama called the convoy’s entrance a “dangerous escalation”, German chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged €500m in aid to rebuild Ukrainian areas damaged in conflict.

Russian president Vladimir Putin will meet Mr Poroshenko next week for the first time in two months to discuss the Ukraine crisis.

Thomas Rhys Jones


More about the author


Share this story


  • Pin It
  • Share on Google+
  • Reddit
  • Stumble
  • LinkedIn

Latest related

“Lavish praise” not good for child improvement finds study
“Lavish praise” not good for child improvement finds study

Heaping praise on struggling students could make them less likely to succeed, a recent study has shown. The study, [read more]

DEC launches unprecedented Ebola aid appeal as death toll surpasses 4,500
DEC launches unprecedented Ebola aid appeal as death toll surpasses 4,500

An unprecedented aid appeal has been launched by the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) after the group announced it [read more]

Zambian president Michael Sata dies in London after heart attack
Zambian president Michael Sata dies in London after heart attack

The 77-year-old Zambian president Michael Sata died on Tuesday 28th October in London’s King Edward VII hospital, [read more]

MP calls for “gender balance and fairness” in sport prizes
MP calls for “gender balance and fairness” in sport prizes

UK’s minister for sport Helen Grant has called for a “battle for gender balance and fairness” after a BBC Sport [read more]

Interstellar European premiere: red carpet live coverage from Leicester Square
Interstellar European premiere: red carpet live coverage from Leicester Square

We brought you a live feed of Interstellar‘s European premiere in London, with Matthew McConaughey, Jessica [read more]

Archives