The Western media have not paid much attention to the Independence Day of Ukraine. European newspapers and news agencies were much more concerned about the fate of the Italians, who suffered from the great earthquake, and the Syrians, because Turkey entered the war.
Such influential publications as The Independent, The Financial Times, The Times, the Times, The Time published some small notes only. Remarkably, all publications cited the same statements of President Petro Poroshenko on the Minsk agreements, emphasizing that the parade was intended to show the military power of Ukraine.
Among the influential British media only The Guardian allocated to Ukraine a place in the article. Author of the material “Ukraine marks 25th anniversary of independence a riven nation, despite the flags” criticized Kyiv, recalling the thousands of victims of Donbas war.
Ukraine has marked 25 years of independence with a huge military parade through Kiev, and although two years of war with Russia-backed rebels in the east has united much of the country, the eastern territories remain divided.
Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, addressed the nation after a parade on Wednesday involving thousands of soldiers, columns of armoured vehicles and missile systems made its way through the capital.
He praised Ukrainians for helping bring down the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago and mocked the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, for mourning its passing. Poroshenko also focused attention on the current conflict in his address.
“Looking back at more than two years of war, we can confidently say that our enemy failed to achieve a single goal – it was not able to bring Ukraine to its knees,” he said. But many would argue his claims are an optimistic reading of a period during which more than 9,500 people have died and 2 million people have been forced to leave their homes.
The Wall Street Journal in the material “Ukraine celebrates Independence amid tensions with Moscow neutrally describes the parade in the center of Kyiv, indicating that it was a reminder of the conflict that erupted along the 300-mile front line in eastern Ukraine.
The Washington Post criticized Ukraine’s parade and called it totally inappropriate. Allegedly, it resembles the Soviet approach, which Ukraine is trying to get rid of. The author did not forget to remind that Ukrainian hryvnia is less than 4 cents.
For a spectacle designed to celebrate a country’s break from its Soviet past, the military parade here Wednesday felt peculiarly, impeccably, Soviet.
Huge columns of army, air force and navy units marched through central Kiev, followed by scores of military vehicles and rocket-launch systems, as Ukraine marked a quarter of a century of independence from Moscow and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The brash display of military might was intended to boost morale and highlight the renewed potency of Ukraine’s once-beleaguered armed forces in the face of tensions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and escalating violence in Ukraine’s war-torn east.
Ahead of Ukraine’s largest military procession since the collapse of communism, President Petro Poroshenko told a crowd of thousands that the country must rely on its own strength rather than external help — a swipe at the West for not doing more to protect Ukraine from a separatist insurgency and a perceived covert Russian invasion.
“Independence has given us democracy and freedom, the feeling of civic dignity and national unity,” Poroshenko said in the Maidan, or Independence Square, the hub of the protests that ousted then-President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. “Our main guarantor is the Ukrainian armed forces. . . . This parade will signal to our international partners that Ukraine is capable of defending itself but requires further support.”
He spoke scornfully of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “imperial appetite” and warned that Ukraine would need “years and tens of billions of hryvnias” until it can “sleep soundly.” The Ukrainian hryvnia is worth about four U.S. cents.
Among the crowd were men in traditional embroidered shirts, women adorned with flower garlands, children draped in Ukrainian flags and young couples taking selfies in front of the rolling mass of tanks, towed guns and missile batteries. Chants of “Glory to Ukraine!” and “Death to enemies” met generals saluting the president from armored vehicles while a commentator’s voice boomed from loudspeakers, hailing the weapons’ range and explosive capabilities.
Another influential newspaper The New York Times was "too lazy" to write its own material on the events in Kyiv and just reprinted Reuters: “Ukraine’s Poroshenko strikes martial tone on Independence Day.”
The fresh tension over Crimea, which Russia annexed in March 2014, has reignited fears that a fragile ceasefire deal brokered in February 2015 with the help of Germany and France, could collapse following the deadliest month of fighting in eastern Ukraine in a year.
"From this parade, our international partners will get the message that Ukraine is able to protect itself, but needs further support," Poroshenko told a large crowd of civilians and military personnel.
He warned that Ukraine was losing the attention of the international community.
"Every country is sometimes more preoccupied with its own problems ... International pressure on Russia must remain until Russia implements the Minsk (ceasefire) agreements," he later told diplomats.
Poroshenko said it would take more time and money for Ukraine to fully protect itself from what he described as Russia's "imperial ambitions".
"We need years and tens of billions of hryvnias until we can sleep soundly," he said.
It should be noted that the US media actively were more active in covering the Independence Day of Ukraine than the European ones. In the UK, only The Guardian touched this issue, and in France, it was Le Figaro. The other notable newspapers published some short messages or did not even mentioned about the event. French news agency in its article “Le pouvoir ukrainien affiche sa force militaire” wrote:
On Independence Day, Ukrainian government has demonstrated its military power at the background of tensions with Moscow concerning Crimea. Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said that Kyiv must rely on its strengths and not hope for international guarantees.
The parade was designed to illustrate the military potential of Ukraine, which was modernized as the pro-Russian separatists launched a war in the east in 2014.
The tensions in Crimea, which Russia annexed in March 2014, have repeated, and they revived fears of the future agreement on ceasefire signed in February 2015 with the support of Germany and France.
Leading German news agencies Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Allgemeine Zeitung, Bild, and Die Zeit reposted only short news, which was published by DPA.
The main messages taken from foreign articles on Ukraine’s Independence are the following: the parade was designed to show the strength of the Ukrainian army, a parade was held against the backdrop of the worsening situation in Crimea and Donbas, and that Minsk II is in jeopardy. Almost all the media quoted Poroshenko’s calls on relying on Ukraine’s army, not on the international guarantees.
In general, Ukraine’s Independence Day in the Western media vividly demonstrates Ukraine's place in the world. No war - no interest to Ukraine. Even military parade could not melt the hearts of the Europeans.