The following statement was issued by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress on February 20.
On February 20, Ukraine and Ukrainians around the world mark the Day of Commemoration of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred (Nebesna Sotnia).
In the fall of 2013, the Ukrainian people took to the streets in protest against the authoritarian, corrupt regime of former president Victor Yanukovych. This movement known as the Revolution of Dignity saw Ukrainians in cities and towns all across the country rise up in defense of their inalienable rights. They demanded rule of law and democracy. They demanded their government treat them with the dignity that every human being deserves. The regime responded with violence.
On February 18-20, 2014, the Yanukovych regime opened fire on its own people. Over 100 people – the Heavenly Hundred – were murdered on the Maidan (Independence Square) in the center of Kyiv. The Heavenly Hundred gave their lives defending the Ukrainian people’s right to liberty and justice. They stand as an eternal example to us all of bravery and patriotism. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. We honor their memory. Vichnaya pamiat.
Today, six years after the triumph of the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine is forced to defend itself against a ruthless war waged by Russia. The Russian occupation of sovereign Ukrainian territory in Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts enters its seventh year. The Ukrainian people continue to courageously defend their country with determination and unity of purpose.
As we honor the memory of the Heavenly Hundred, we also pay tribute to the thousands of Ukrainians who have fallen or been wounded defending their country from Russian aggression.
The UCC asks all Canadians to pause to remember the heroic sacrifices of the Heavenly Hundred and the brave soldiers defending Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence and to attend memorial services for the Heavenly Hundred in their communities.