‘We are a family’ President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech marking Ukraine’s 30th independence anniversary, in brief

Ukrainian President’s Office / AFP / Scanpix / LETA

On August 24, Ukraine celebrated the 30th anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union. To mark the occasion, President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a speech at a parade of troops in downtown Kyiv. In his address, Zelensky reflected on Ukraine’s recent and historical achievements and announced plans to introduce a new holiday, the Day of Ukrainian Statehood. He also emphasized that Ukraine is fighting for its people in Crimea and the eastern Donbas region and promised the return of these territories. Meduza summarizes Zelensky’s speech, in a nutshell.

Thirty years ago we didn’t just proclaim independence, we restored Ukraine’s statehood. The Ukrainian hryvnia and trident are more than 1,000 years old, and the Ukrainian army won victories back in the 17th century. We are a young country with a thousand-year history — the descendants of Kyivan Rus, which was once the center of Europe. We need to be a strong country, then we won’t have to ask to join the EU and NATO, they will invite us. We are fighting for our own people in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine, because you can occupy territories, but it’s impossible to occupy people’s love for Ukraine. They will return, because we are a family. We will return not only our people, but also what’s ours — we will no longer allow the “occupation” of a single page of our history, or the “annexation” of our writers, scientists, and athletes. There are Ukrainian people of dozens of nationalities, but we are all one team. Each of our 25 regions is an irreplaceable player. Without the helicopters of Zaporizhia, we wouldn’t have conquered the skies, without the ships of Mykolaiv we wouldn’t have conquered the seas, and without Kharkiv T-34 tanks we wouldn’t have won World War II. The Rivne region gave us the first president of Ukraine, the Chernihiv region – the second, the Sumy region – the third. The Donetsk region gave us [actor] Leonid Bykov and [athlete] Serhiy Bubka. Ukrainian speakers and Russian speakers must be one family. Ukraine unites us, because we all defend it. Glory to Ukraine! 

This is an approximate summary of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union. You can read a full English translation here

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