This Wednesday, Ukraine celebrated their Independence Day which also marked the 31st anniversary of when the country voted to break off from the Soviet Union.
This year, however, became more of a somber occasion. Officials around the Ukraine were attending memorials and issuing warnings that Moscow could potentially carry out missile attacks against cities within the Ukraine.
In years past, this holiday would be marked with celebrations and parades. This year commemorated exactly six months after Russia’s invasion began.
President Volodymyr Zelensky started off the day with an address that spoke of the recent invasion as a new independence day where Ukraine had to fight for its freedom instead of simply voting for it.
“A new nation emerged on February 24 at 4 a.m. Not born, but reborn. A nation that didn’t cry, didn’t scream, didn’t get scared. Didn’t run away. Didn’t give up. Didn’t forget.”
All across Ukraine, people paid tribute to the people who have been killed in the military ever since the invasion from Russia began.
The silent celebrations throughout Ukraine followed Zelensky’s warning that Russia may step up efforts to start attacks once again, including missile strikes.
According to CNN, The US government joined Ukraine with concerns of the attacks and warned Americans visiting to leave the country immediately.
Sadly, the expressed concerns appeared to have come true as Russia launched missile strikes all across Ukrainian territory.
“In other major cities of Ukraine, even those which are far away from the battlefield, there have been explosions, there have been missile strikes,” said Sak, an adviser to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
Within these explosions, there has been at least 15 people killed and dozens more wounded from a Russian rocket strike.
In a recent video, Zelensky said the rockets that were blasted from Russia hit a train and at least 4 of the carriages were on fire.
Many of the public celebrations for Ukraine’s independence day were canceled, but citizens showed their respect by wearing embroidered shirts similar to the national dress.
Even through all the attacks, Ukraine is still uniting together to take a stand up against Russia.
“Every new day is a new reason not to give up. Because, having gone through so much, we have no right not to reach the end. What is the end of the war for us? We used to say: Peace. Now we say: Victory,” said Zelensky.
Nikki Indelicato is a Contributing Reporter at The National Digest based in New York. You can reach her at email@example.com.