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Zelensky signs decree making May 9 Europe Day, proposes to celebrate Victory Day on May 8

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 8, 2023 12:37 PM 3 min read
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on May 4, 2023 in The Hague, Netherlands. (P van Katwijk/Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky has submitted a draft law to the Ukrainian parliament proposing that May 8 be the Day of Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in the Second World War.

"This is pure history, without ideological admixtures. And this is the history of our people, our allies, the entire free world. Today we return it to our state," Zelensky said in his video address on May 8.

Most European nations celebrate Victory in Europe Day on May 8 to mark the anniversary of Germany's unconditional surrender coming into force. Russia and some former Soviet countries celebrate Victory Day on May 9, using the term Great Patriotic War.

Ukraine also celebrated Victory Day on May 9 until 2015, when then-president Petro Poroshenko changed its name to the Day of Victory over Nazism in World War II. He designated May 8 as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation. May 8 was a working day, and May 9 remained a public holiday.

"We will never forget the contribution of the Ukrainian people to the victory over Nazism. And we will not allow lies as if the victory in that war could happen without the participation of any country or nation," Zelensky said.

Ukrainian intelligence warns of Victory Day provocations by Russia
Moscow might stage false-flag attacks against Russian and Belarusian populations around May 9, Ukraine’s General Intelligence Directorate chief Andrii Usov, said at a briefing on May 7.

"As then we destroyed evil together, now we are destroying a similar evil together… Although now it is another aggressor, the goal is the same – enslavement or destruction. And just as then we relied on the joint strength of free nations, today we fight against evil together with the free world, together with free Europe. And we will prevail!"

Zelensky has also signed a decree to make May 9 the Europe Day, held annually in the EU member countries to celebrate "peace and unity in Europe."

This day marks the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration signing in 1950, which "was an ambitious plan to secure long-term peace in post-war Europe that is considered the beginning of what is now the European Union."

"Now, just like 80 years ago, we rely on the joint strength of free peoples and know that together we will always be part of a free Europe that will not submit to evil," Ukraine's president added.

"And together with all of free Europe, we will celebrate Europe Day on May 9 in Ukraine. A united Europe, which should be and will be based on peace. Our Europe, which Ukraine has always been, is and will be a part of."

UK Defense Ministry: Moscow’s Victory Day celebration likely to go ahead on smaller scale
Victory Day parades traditionally held on May 9 across Russia have been canceled but a celebration in Moscow will likely go ahead on a smaller scale, the U.K. Defense Ministry said on May 6.
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