Kyiv severs more ties with Russia amid IMF visit and new Rada session

KYIV – When the country’s legislature, the Verkhovna Rada, reconvenes on September 4 after the summer break, it will have a presidential bill registered to have European Union and NATO membership enshrined in the Constitution. 

President Petro Poroshenko said that government lawyers have “found a formula for doing this optimally and quickly,” during a speech in Kyiv at the Ukrainian Independence Day parade on August 24. 

Toronto celebrates 27th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence

TORONTO – The Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Toronto Branch hosted the 27th annual Ukrainian Independence Day celebration on August 18 at Centennial Park in Toronto – now deemed to be the largest celebration of its kind in all of North America and in the Ukrainian diaspora. 

Blessed with superb weather, an excellent turnout and a robust succession of prominent entertainment, the day was a huge success. Many greetings and praises were received from all levels of Canadian government and special guests.

Walesa nominates Sentsov for Nobel Peace Prize

Lech Walesa, the former Polish president and Nobel laureate, said he has nominated Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is imprisoned in Russia, for the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Walesa told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service that he sees similarities between Mr. Sentsov’s situation and his own in the 1980s, when he was imprisoned by Polish authorities for his work as the leader of the Solidarity trade union. 

“I was also in a difficult situation,” Mr. Walesa said in an interview published on August 29. “I also struggled. This award [the Nobel Peace Prize)] helped me, as well as Poland, in regaining freedom. “For this reason, support is needed.

Russia bets on internal conflict in Ukraine

The presidential race has started in Ukraine, creating rather favorable conditions for Russia to intensify its influence in the country. Using its “assistants and helpers,” the Kremlin is legitimizing an “alternative” political discourse in the Ukrainian media and, what is even more dangerous, is actively preparing to provoke internal conflicts in Ukraine. The Ukrainian state has taken two independent actions that have obliged Russia to accelerate its preparations for intervening in Ukraine and fomenting internal conflicts – first, Ukraine has asked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to grant the Tomos on Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and, secondly, President Petro Poroshenko has submitted to Parliament several amendments to Ukraine’s Consti-tution in order to consolidate Ukraine’s aspirations to join the European Union and NATO. The key features of the Kremlin’s strategy are very clear. • First, the Kremlin aims to destroy trust and faith in the Ukrainian government.

President Petro Poroshenko’s speech at the military parade in Kyiv

Following is the text of President Petro Poroshenko’s speech at the solemn army parade “March of the New Army” on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the independence of Ukraine. The text was released by the Presidential Administration of Ukraine. Зродились ми великої години
З пожеж війни і полум’я вогнів. Плекав нас біль за долю України,
Зростив нас гнів і лють на ворогів. Fellow Ukrainians!

Secretary Pompeo greets Ukraine, declares steadfast support of U.S.

The press statement below was released by U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on August 24. On behalf of President Trump and the American people, congratulations to all Ukrainians on your national day. The United States steadfastly supports Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. We pay tribute to those who have fought and sacrificed for freedom in Ukraine, and we stand behind Ukraine as it adopts transformational reforms to increase prosperity, security, and rule of law. The friendship between our countries runs deep, and we are committed to the success of a stable, prosperous, democratic, and free Ukraine.

Flags at half-staff honor John McCain

HARTFORD, Conn. – Spotted flying above the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford on Sunday, August 26, was the Ukrainian national flag, raised there to mark Ukrainian Independence Day. It was at half-staff in honor of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was a staunch friend of Ukraine. Sen. McCain passed away on August 25 at the age of 81 after a battle with brain cancer. U.S. flags were to fly at half-staff through the day of the senator’s interment, Sunday, September 2.

Ukraine’s Independence Day parade in Kyiv

KYIV – On August 24, a military parade – said to be the largest yet – on Kyiv’s Khreshchatyk was held to mark Ukraine’s 27th Independence Day. Some 4,500 military servicemen from Ukraine and 300 of their colleagues from 18 countries took part, according to Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak. 

Soldiers from 10 NATO member countries marched down the Khreshchatyk alongside their Ukrainian colleagues. (In 2017, eight NATO countries were represented.) As well, 250 units of military hardware either in use in the Ukrainian Armed Forces or undergoing trials were displayed during the parade, including the Javelin anti-tank missiles Ukraine had so long sought from the U.S. and finally acquired earlier this year. 

For the first time in many years, military aviation took part in the parade. In a first for Ukraine, the standard military greeting was replaced with “Glory to Ukraine – Glory to the heroes.” 

Dubbed the “March of the New Army,” the parade was overseen by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Special guests included U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and leaders and representatives of the defense ministries of Austria, Azerbaijan, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. 

Servicemen from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard, Internal Affairs Ministry, State Emergency Service, Security Service, State Border Guard, National Police, Air and Land forces of Ukraine, marines, paratroopers, tank soldiers, soldiers of the Special Operations Forces, veterans of the war in the Donbas and over 20 military orchestras marched down the Khreshchatyk.

John McCain, a hero to us all

The day after Ukraine and Ukrainians around the globe celebrated Ukrainian Independence Day, a great friend and supporter of our ancestral homeland, U.S. Sen. John McCain passed away. Condolences poured in from world leaders. Social media were filled with tributes to Sen. McCain from Ukrainians here in the United States, leaders and citizens in Ukraine, and Ukrainians throughout the world. 

The Arizona Republican was hailed as a war hero, a true patriot who worked in bipartisan fashion for the good of the United States, a great defender of liberty at home and abroad, a man of great courage and conviction, an inspiration to millions. Our own comment, posted on Facebook when we heard the sad news, noted: “Ukrainians will always remember John McCain on the Maidan… Vichnaya pamiat.” 

Forever etched in our memory are scenes of Sen. McCain, along with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), on the Maidan in Kyiv on December 15, 2013, when he addressed hundreds of thousands gathered to demonstrate their pro-Europe stance in the face of the Yanukovych administration’s decision to shelve an Association Agreement with the European Union.

Septеmber 5, 1983

Thirty-five years ago, on September 5, 1983, Canada’s External Affairs Minister Allan J. MacEachen and Transport Minister Lloyd Axworthy announced that Canada would suspend all flights by Aeroflot into Canada for 60 days. The move came in response to the September 1, 1983, downing of a South Korean airliner (KAL Flight 007, flying from New York to Seoul via Anchorage, Alaska) by a K-8 missile fired by a Soviet Su-15 interceptor jet. Ukrainians had urged the Canadian government to adopt tougher and more robust sanctions. Separate letters sent by the Ontario and Ottawa branches of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee (now known as the Ukrainian Canadian Congress), as well as Sen. Paul Yuzyk, urged the Canadian government to “immediately suspend all commercial air travel with the USSR and… demand a full inquiry into this most tragic event.”

On September 7, the UCC urged the Canadian government to extend the air travel suspension for an indefinite period, noting that the 60-day period was an insufficient response for such a brutal act. “People are indignant for a year and then they say ‘let’s forget about it,’ ” said A. J. Yaremovich, executive director of the UCC, adding that the air travel ban should be in effect until the Soviets make a “definite admittance” to their actions.