February 15 marks the anniversary of the Soviet troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan. This day became a memorable one for many Ukrainian families - because thousands of Ukrainians went to war, and a lot of them did not live to see the end of the war.
The memorable date was set by the 2004 presidential decree - as the Day of Memory of The Warriors Who Participated in Foreign Conflicts. But even before this official step, common Ukrainian citizens have been paying tribute to the fallen warriors annually on this day.
On Thursday, President Petro Poroshenko joined the solemn meeting timed to the memorable date. He met with the war veterans and laid flowers to the memorial in Kyiv.
The Soviet-Afghan war lasted over nine years (since late 1979 till early 1989) and claimed lives of dozens of thousands of servicemen from the both warring sides (Afghan government troops and the local rebels, known as the Mujahideen, - 112 International). However, civilians took much more serious casualties over the period; about 2 million of them perished.
Over 3,000 Ukrainians were killed in action during the conflict. 72 warriors were awarded with the title of hero of the Soviet Union during the war, 11 of them are Ukrainian nationals.