President Petro Poroshenko, other high-ranked Ukrainian officials and WWII veterans held a moment of silence for those who fell victims to the war.
The memorial ceremony took place at the Slavy Square (Square of Glory) in Kyiv. The head of the Ukrainian state laid flowers to the Monument of an Unnamed Soldier.
Yesterday, May 8, Poroshenko participated in the First Minute of Peace, the solemn action dedicated to the victims of the Secold World War. The president held a speech on this occasion, paying tribute both to Ukrainians who fought against the Nazism in that war and Ukrainians who are now fighting against Russian troops and pro-Kremlin militants in Donbas.
In the long-standing tradition that remained form the USSR, May 9 is still celebrated as the Victory Day in many post-Soviet countries; but many Ukrainians have been marking the date as a day of mourning and commemoration.
Back in 2015, the Ukrainian parliament set May 8 as the official Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation in the Second World War, so as to pay tribute to those who didn’t see the end of the global conflict. The respective bill was approved according to the 2004 UN recommendation, which set May 8 and May 9 as days of memory and reconciliation in the WWII.
Historians argue abour the actual total cnumber of casualties that Ukraine suffered in the Second World War; however, it is clear that at least 4.5 million Ukrainians fought against the Nazi Germany in the Red Army, and another 250,000 served as fighters of partisan units. Over 100,000 Ukrainians served as fighters of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army that sought Ukraine's independence and sovereignty, fighting the Nazis and the Communists at the same time.
Several million Ukrainian civilians lost their lives in that war.
According to President Poroshenko, about 7 million Ukrainians served as soldiers of at least seven armies of the Allied Forces.