On the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation and on the eve of the 71st anniversary of the Victory over Nazism in World War II, President Petro Poroshenko met with war veterans, participants of Ukrainian movement for liberation and servicemen-participants of the anti-terrorist operation.
The Head of State congratulated the attendees on holidays and expressed gratitude to the older generation - veterans of the Red Army and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. 'I am grateful to everyone who fought fascism. You have bravely passed long and thorny roads to victory - through flames of battles, suffering and death, bitterness of defeats and irreparable losses. At the cost of great self-sacrifice, everyone of you has personally defended the right of our people to life, brought peace to our home and presented it to the nations of Europe,' the President said.
Petro Poroshenko reminded that Ukrainians fought against Nazism in the ranks of the Red Army, Soviet partisan units, Ukrainian Insurgent Army, military units of the Anti-Hitler coalition and European resistance movements. 'Against the backdrop of such indisputable historical facts, how can one have enough insolence to state that Russia could have won the war without Ukraine? They wouldn’t have won this war without Ukrainians,' the President emphasized.
However, war has come to Ukrainian land again. Defending Ukrainian independence and geopolitical choice, overcoming occupants not only by the power of weapons, but also by the power of spirit, today’s Ukrainian warriors take an example from veterans - those who liberated Ukraine from fascist invaders. At the moment, new heroic pages have been written in the Ukrainian history already: liberation of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, Krasnyi Lyman and Lysychansk, defense of Mariupol, fierce battles in Donetsk and Luhansk airports.
'Dear veterans, your grandsons are doing this. It is your school and traditions, your power and patriotism. You have reasons to be proud of your grandsons. Your grandsons defend Ukraine and cover each other. We can beat the enemy if we are united and strong from inside, if we believe in the Ukrainian Flag, Emblem and Anthem,' the President said.
The attendees honored memory of the fallen defenders of Ukraine of different generations with a moment of silence.
Veteran of the Ukrainian movement for liberation Stepan Petrash noted that warriors of the Soviet Army and Ukrainian Insurgent Army had been fighting against occupants on the opposite sides of the front during World War II. 'Even though our foes are trying to diminish and falsify this great feat - struggle of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. We were not fighting against the Red Army. There was no such order. We were trying to find a common language, because we had one enemy. Now, we must offer hands to one another once again and build an independent, united Ukrainian state together,' he said. According to the veteran, grandsons of warriors of both the Red Army and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army are now fighting together - 'they do not need reconciliation - the enemy has reconciled them attacking our freedom and our land'.
The President had a conversation with veterans and ATO participants. The Head of State wished veterans a good health and a long and happy life. He also wished the younger generation to return from war alive.