A Ukrainian flag  (ANSA)

By Stefan J. Bos 

August 26 2022

People in Ukraine are marking Independence Day amid tight security measures because of fears of renewed Russian strikes. The remembrance comes exactly half-year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.

In territories still controlled by Kyiv, people commemorated Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union and six months since Russia’s military invaded their nation.

Ahead of the commemorations, Russia got a military parade in Kyiv but perhaps not the one President Vladimir Putin had wished for. Instead, Russian tanks destroyed by the Ukrainian military lined up the streets.   

But military and other public events to mark Ukraine’s Independence Day were canceled amid fears they could become a target for Russian attacks. 

Even air raid sirens were heard while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zekensky warned of more Russian strikes. 

President Zelensky said that the six months of invasion and Ukraine’s Independence Day were “also important for the enemy.” In his words, “Russian provocations and brutal strikes are possible. The armed forces of Ukraine, our intelligence, and special forces will do everything to protect the people and will surely respond to any manifestation of Russian terror.”

In separate remarks, Zelensky pledged that the Ukrainian and Tartar flags would one day fly again over the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Germany reluctantly agreed to back Ukraine with weapons, as it still remembers its role in World War Two. However, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz used the occasion of Ukraine’s Independence Day to pledge more military support. “We will continue to supply weapons from tank howitzers to air defense systems, month after month. We will continue to train Ukrainian soldiers on the latest European equipment. We will continue our sanctions. We will support Ukraine financially and help rebuild the destroyed cities and villages,” Scholz said. 

Ongoing war

But it remains unclear if more weapons will help end the war soon. Ukraine and invader Russia have already paid a terrible human price in the fighting.

At least tens of thousands of people, including civilians and soldiers, were reportedly killed since the war began on February 24. 

Millions have lost their homes or been forced into exile, and there is little hope that an end to the fighting is in sight, with both sides pledging to continue their battles. 

The United States was due to announce a further $3 billion in much-needed aid. And senior politicians from across Europe traveled to Kyiv to show their support in person. 

They arrived despite security warnings, including a US call for its citizens to leave war-torn Ukraine. – Vatican News