KYIV – Ukraine celebrated its Independence Day on August 24 with a military parade in which defense ministers and troops from Britain, Georgia, Estonia, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania and the United States participated. “I have confidence in our allies,” President Petro Poroshenko said, as he thanked them for being in Kyiv on this day. The president also noted: “I am confident in our army, which is now at its best. This is, by the way, an assessment of European think tanks. However, there is still much work to be done to strengthen and modernize it, and to get it fully compatible with NATO standards.” Mr. Poroshenko also underscored that “Ukraine is ready to repulse the aggressor severely in case of its attempts to launch an offensive. Nevertheless, we proceed from the priority of the peaceful, diplomatic, political and legal way of returning Donbas and Crimea.” The Presidential Administration of Ukraine tweeted: “It’s highly symbolic that defense leaders and troops of our allies take part in Ukraine Independence parade.” Earlier that day, the president of Ukraine, the first lady and other Ukrainian leaders attended religious services, laid flowers before monuments to Taras Shevchenko and Mykhailo Hrushevsky, and paid tribute to Ukraine’s modern-day fallen heroes. (Photos, unless otherwise noted, are from the Presidential Administration of Ukraine.)
Sources: UNIAN, RFE/RL, Facebook/Petro Poroshenko, Twitter/The Bankova.