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Zelensky: 'We will not let go of our independence'

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 24, 2023 3:54 PM 3 min read
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gives a speech on St Sophia's Square in central Kyiv, marking Ukrainian Independence Day on Aug. 24, 2023. (Photo: President of Ukraine) 
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Ukraine will not allow its independence to be torn apart, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech in Kyiv on Aug. 24, marking 32 years of Ukrainian statehood.

While there have been many attempts throughout history to divide the country, Zelensky said, there has not been a single day since the start of the full-scale invasion that Ukraine lacked unity.

Ukrainians know what they are capable of, while also remembering what their ancestors went through, he added.

Zelensky highlighted that while the majority of the world stands with Ukraine, it is important that Ukraine is able to defend itself.

This defense has a wider impact, he said. Thanks to Ukraine's soldiers, "our country already guarantees common European security."

Zelensky also thanked leaders who understood that without Ukraine, the building of a European community would "be an unfinished construction project."

A number of European leaders were in attendance in Kyiv, including Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The Prime Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Stoere, and the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zeljko Komsic.

Ukrainian officials, the prime minister, members of the armed forces and security services, and members of the diplomatic corps were also present.

Zelensky held a moment of silence in memory of those who died fighting for Ukraine's independence throughout history. After the speech, he presented medals to military personnel and posthumous awards to the families of those killed.

Before the event at St. Sophia's Square, the president and First Lady Olena Zelenska laid flowers at the Wall of Remembrance to honor the memory of fallen Ukrainian defenders.

On the morning of Aug. 24, Zelensky released a video address, in which he thanked Ukrainians across society for their sacrifices and actions during the war.

"In a big war, there are no small deeds. No unnecessary ones. No unimportant ones," he said.


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