World War II took the lives of 8-10 million Ukrainians, destroyed 700 cities and 2800 villages, 33,000 schools, and 18,000 hospitals. Since January 1, 1941, till January 1, 1945, the population of Ukraine reduced from 40,9 million to 27 million – including those, who were evacuated or who left with Germans. Moreover, the historians say Ukraine sustained more losses within this horrible period than Great Britain, the U.S., Canada, and France combined.
Ukraine commemorates the Liberation Day annually on October 28 – the day, when the modern territory of Ukraine was completely liberated from the troops of Nazi Germany during World War II. The idea to create the national holiday was presented by the then Minister of Economy of Ukraine Serhiy Tigipko on October 15, 2009. Later, the then President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree establishing the holiday.
The liberation began during the Battle of Stalingrad (November 1942 - February 1943), which was the momentum – the Soviet Union was about to win the war. In December 1942, first Ukrainian settlements in Donbas were liberated. And mass liberation took place during the Battle of Kursk. Soviet troops liberated Kharkiv on August 23. Uzhgorod was retaken from the Germans and Soviet troops came to that is now the western border of our state.
Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was liberated in 1943, after the Second Battle of Kyiv also known as the Battle of the Dnipro River, which became one of the largest and bloodiest military operations in history.
In 1944, western Ukrainians cities Lutsk and Rivne were liberated from the Nazis. The military port in Sevastopol was liberated after a fight on Sapun Hill (southeast of Sevastopol, Crimea).
Ukraine made a major contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany and its allies in World War II. Not only the Nazi occupants were our enemies, but also Stalin’s totalitarian regime made it even harder for the Ukrainian soldiers to defend the Soviet Union and Ukraine, in particular, as some troops wanted to restore Ukraine’s independence.
On this day, the country commemorates the liberation of its territories from Nazi occupants, who brought so much pain and destruction to our land, and commemorates those who deceased so that Ukraine can prosper today.