The Ukrainian Canadian Congress released the statement below on January 21.
On January 22, Ukrainians all over the world mark the 100th anniversary of the declaration of Ukrainian statehood. On January 22, 1918, the Fourth Universal of the Ukrainian Central Rada proclaimed the Ukrainian National Republic an independent, free, sovereign state.
One year later, on January 22, 1919, the Ukrainian National Republic and the West Ukrainian National Republic united in a single, independent and indivisible state. Today, this historic date is observed as the Day of Unity of Ukraine (День Соборности України).
The Declaration of modern Ukrainian statehood 100 years ago continued a thousand-year history of Ukrainian state building, from the ancient state of Kyiv Rus’ to the Kozak Sich to the Fourth Universal.
Ukraine’s national liberation movement continued throughout the 20th century. The long-held dream of renewed Ukrainian statehood was finally achieved in 1991. In courageous resistance to foreign despotism, millions of lives were lost in the struggle of the Ukrainian people to exercise their inalienable right to live in liberty and choose their own common destiny. Today we honor the sacrifice and contribution of generations Ukrainian patriots to the sacred cause of freedom.
As so many times throughout history, today Ukraine’s independence is again under threat from Russian imperialism. Russia wages a brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, and illegally occupies sovereign Ukrainian territory in Crimea and the Donbas. The Ukrainian people are once again forced to defend their homeland from foreign tyranny. They have responded with unity of purpose, determination and courage.
On the battlefields and in the trenches of eastern Ukraine, the valiant men and women of Ukraine’s Armed Forces continue the historic battle in defense of Ukraine’s liberty. The price of this liberty is extraordinarily high. Today we mourn the thousands of Ukrainian heroes who have given their lives so that Ukraine may remain free. They will never be forgotten. May their memory be eternal. Вічная пам’ять.
Today, on this momentous anniversary, we reaffirm our commitment to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. Because justice always triumphs over evil, we are certain in the knowledge that one day soon, the blue-and-yellow standard will again fly over the cities and towns of Crimea and the Donbas. To our sisters and brothers in Ukraine, we pledge to do all in our power to support their righteous struggle in defense of their freedom. And we ask God to protect Ukraine.