Ukraine celebrates Independence Day: Did You Know…?

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ten interesting facts about the country, which marks its 26th anniversary today
13:30, 24 August 2017


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  • When Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian diaspora traditionally recognized 22 January (the Declaration of Independence of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1918) as Ukrainian Independence day. The current form of the holiday was first celebrated on 16 July 1991, on the first anniversary of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine passed by the Ukraine's parliament in 1990. Since the Declaration of Independence was issued on 24 August 1991, and confirmed by the referendum held on December 1, 1991, the date of the holiday was changed.

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  • Kyiv, the current capital city of modern Ukraine, has not always held this official status. The West Ukrainian People’s Republic, the short-lived state of late 1918 and early 1919, proclaimed Lviv as their capital city. The north-Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic for a while – from 1919 till 1934.
  • Ukraine’s flag is commonly referred to as yellow and light blue (жовто-блакитний in Ukrainian). Although many Ukrainians use this expression, it is to be noted that current flag in reality is blue (the upper band) and yellow (the lower band). Prior to the current form of Ukraine’s national flag, its bands switched places several times. The first most solid proof of yellow and blue colours could be traced as far as the 1410 Battle of Grunwald, where warriors who were recruited from the current Ukrainian territories waved banners featuring both colors. Since then, the flag has changed its outlook many times. Eventually, the Constitution of Ukraine, which was adopted in 1996, stated that "the State Flag of Ukraine is a banner of two equally sized horizontal bands of blue and yellow colour."
  • The modern "trident" symbol was adopted as the coat of arms of the Ukrainian People's Republic in February 1918. The design has precedents in seals of the Kyiv Rus’. This was stamped on the gold and silver coins issued by Prince Volodymyr the Great (980–1015). In 1996, Article 20 of the Constitution of Ukraine officially approved the yellow trident as the coat of arms of Ukraine.

YouTube screenshot

  • Ukraine’s first president is Leonid Kravchuk, who has long time the loyal member of the Communist Party. Widely considered as cunning, diplomatic and extremely cautious politician, he once described himself as a man who refuses to take an umbrella because he hopes to "slip between the raindrops". He was the one of the three statesmen (the other two being Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Belarusian Parliamentary Speaker Stanislav Shushkevich) who signed the Belavezha accords in December 1991, dissolving the Soviet Union. Kravchuk, who turned 80 in January 2014, is a well-known lover of chess.
  • Poland was the first country in the World to recognize Ukrainian independence. The relations have been improving since, with Poland and Ukraine forming a strong strategic partnership. Various controversies from their shared history occasionally resurface in Polish-Ukrainian relations, but they are not having a major influence on the bilateral relations of Poland and Ukraine
  • The first U.S. president who visited independent Ukraine was Bill Clinton. He arrived in Ukraine three times – in 1992, 1995 and 2000. His predecessor, George H.W. Bush, visited Kyiv and addressed the Supreme Council of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on August 1, 1991, not long before the country proclaimed independence from the Soviet Union.  His son and the 43rd U.S. president George W. Bush came to Ukraine once, in April 2008. Bush’s successor Barack Obama never visited this country. The incumbent U.S. leader Donald Trump has not visited Ukraine yet.

Klitschko brothers

  • Brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, the legendary Ukrainian boxers, have held all major champion titles in the heavyweight division from July 2011 to December 2013.
  • In September 2007, Ukrainian translators became the first ones to perform the full translation of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, the seventh and the final novel of the Harry Potter series (released in July 2007).

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  • Over the last twenty years, Ukraine has won Eurovision Song Contest twice – in 2004 and 2016.

Related: US Defense Secretary to visit Ukraine on Independence Day

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Related: 'What we doing now is not reforms, but attempt to create independent state'

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