Thirty years ago, on October 11, 1991, Ukraine’s parliament adopted in a closed session a conception of the defense and military forces of Ukraine, which paved the way for debate over a package of seven laws: on the defense of Ukraine, on the military forces of Ukraine, on the Republican Guard of Ukraine, on the state border of Ukraine, on the border troops of Ukraine, on the social and legal protection of military personnel serving on military territory and their families, and on alternative service.
Seventy years ago, on October 6, 1951, The Ukrainian Weekly marked the 18th anniversary of its founding. It was at the Ukrainian National Association convention in 1933 in Detroit where it was decided that the UNA must publish for the growing younger generation a weekly publication in the English language as a supplement in the Ukrainian-language newspaper Svoboda.
Five years ago, on September 29, 2016, Ukraine marked the 75th anniversary of the World War II-era mass execution of 33,771 Jews at the Babyn Yar ravine on the outskirts of Kyiv. World leaders attended the official commemoration, hosted by President Petro Poroshenko, which included Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who was on a working visit to Ukraine but had to return to Israel on September 28 after the death of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres.
Forty-five years ago, on September 19, 1976, a monument bust of Ukrainian poetess Lesia Ukrainka was unveiled at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center.
During the unveiling ceremonies, attended by more than 2,000 people, Natalka Chuma recited a verse from the poem “Contra Spem Spero” by Ukrainka. “Up the steep pathway on the rocky flinty hill, I’ll bear my rocky burden all day long. And though I carry such a load, I still shall keep my heart and sing a happy song.”
Seven years ago, on September 18, 2014, President Petro Poroshenko addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress during his working visit to the United States. Mr. Poroshenko noted that the honor of addressing both chambers of Congress was not his, but it belonged “to the people of Ukraine, those brave men and women who are today on the forefront of the global fight for democracy!” he said.
Twenty-five years ago, on September 11, 1996, two Ukrainian naval vessels – the Hetman Sahaidachny (a frigate) and the Kostiantyn Olshansky (a landing ship) – arrived at the U.S. Naval Base in Norfolk, Va., making it the first time that Ukrainian naval vessels (representing an independent Ukraine, flying Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow banner) visited a U.S. port. The weeklong visit included joint naval landing exercises, shore excursions for the sailors, a weekend open house for American visitors and an evening concert by the military band aboard the Sahaidachny.
Ten years ago, on August 30, 2011, Oleksii Pukach, the prime suspect in the killing of Ukrainian investigative journalist Heorhii Gongadze, stated at his trial that former President Leonid Kuchma was among those who ordered the murder. Gongadze’s headless body was discovered in a forest outside of Kyiv in late 2000.
In the wake of the policies of glasnost, perestroika and demokratizatsia announced by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, there was ferment throughout the USSR. What follows is a timeline of events leading up to the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence on August 24, 1991, and its affirmation by a nationwide referendum on December 1, 1991
Sounding the alarm bell for the West to recognize the possible outcomes of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact (known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that was signed on August 23, 1939), 82 years ago, on August 26, 1939, The Ukrainian Weekly’s front-page editorial noted multiple areas of concern for Ukraine.