On June 16, 1990, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. On August 24, 1991, the Ukrainian Parliament solemnly proclaimed Ukraine's independence and the formation of the independent state of Ukraine.
On December 1, 1991, a referendum took place in Ukraine, involving 84.18 Percent of citizens, of which number 90,35 percent seconded the Independence Act of August 24.
Many expected Ukraine to be short-lived. And many others expected it to follow in the footsteps of its post-Soviet neighbors and abandon democracy. Instead, 26 years after independence, Ukraine survives as a democratic state.
Its survival and consolidation as a democracy can be largely attributed to the fact that, from 1991 to 2014, Ukraine had the good fortune to exist in relatively stable geopolitical circumstances.
Russia, the only existential threat to Ukraine, was in disarray and until 2014, while far from being a good neighbor, had resisted direct intervention. Ukrainians—or, more precisely, Ukrainian civil society—consistently challenged government corruption and incompetence and promoted accountability, democracy, tolerance, and transparency.
Till 2014 we hoped to develop Ukraine in prosperity and peace with every country. But our neighbor, who had been claiming for years to be a “brother”, three and a half years ago had stabbed us in the back at first by occupying the Crimea. A few weeks later, Kremlin unleashed a hybrid war in the eastern part of Ukraine.
Thousands of Ukrainian patriots have already sacrificed their lives fighting against pro-Russian terrorists and Russian troops in order to defend Ukraine, as well as peace and stability in Europe. Russian aggression led 1.5 million of Ukrainians to be internally displaced.
We are fighting for universal values — freedom, democracy and territorial integrity. We are also fighting for the global peace.
The future is being made now. The world should decide what it will sow today in order to reap it tomorrow. Russia should do the same. War never brings prosperity; only peace and mutual support do.
Under these difficult conditions for Ukraine celebrating Independence Day takes on a new meaning. Fierce fighting for the preservation of the integrity of our country continues and we all need to unite and do everything possible to preserve the sovereignty and independence of our state.