Independence Day is the main state holiday in modern Ukraine. On Aug. 24, 1991, the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR passed the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine. The event was preceded by an attempt of coup d'etat in the Soviet Union that triggered an extraordinary session of the Ukrainian parliament. On the same day, the Verkhovna Rada decided to hold a national referendum in support of the historical document together with the presidential elections on Dec. 1, 1991. Back then, more than 90 percent of the Ukrainians voted for country's independence.
The celebration of this year's anniversary started at 10 a.m. with a festive military parade in Kyiv. 4,500 servicemen took part in the parade, including more than 1,000 anti-terrorist operation veterans and over 200 soldiers marked with state awards for their courage and heroism in combat. This year, more than 200 NATO military participated in the parade as well as nine defense ministers of the Alliance countries, including Pentagon chief Jim Mattis.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko endowed the title of Hero of Ukraine to Lieutenant Vasyl Tarasiuk who fought in the Avdiivka industrial zone in the Donbas. The title of Hero of Ukraine was also conferred on Captain Yevhen Loskut, posthumously. In 2014, the hero stopped the movement of a column of invaders and after being surrounded by the enemy blew himself up with a grenade, shouting out: "Glory to Ukraine!".
President Petro Poroshenko extends the Colours to the commanders of units fighting with the Russian aggressor in the Donbas
Taras Loskut, the son of the deceased Captain Yevhen Loskut, with his father's medal
NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov
Turchynov and Jim Mattis
Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak
The military waiting for the start of the parade
Orchestra of the National Guard of Ukraine
Anti-terrorist operation veterans
Photos by Oleh Bohachuk
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