On Tuesday, August 29, 2023, Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy marked the Day of Remembrance of the Defenders of Ukraine by paying a solemn tribute to the soldiers who have given their lives in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
“Every year on August 29, we honor the memory of Ukrainians who gave their lives defending our country,” Zelenskyy averred.
Zelenskyy added that the Ukrainian heroes died “defending Ukraine’s independence, freedom for all our people, the territorial integrity of Ukraine,Ukraine’s right to be among free nations.”
Zelenskyy, as well as all those present observed a minute of silence in memory of the Ukrainian soldiers who died fighting for the country.
Also, the Ukrainian President laid a wreath at the Wall of Remembrance on Mykhailivska Square in Kyiv.
“There are no words to describe the strength, greatness and self-sacrifice of a hero who remains forever in battle for his people to preserve freedom and emerge victorious. Words are never enough to express what we feel.
“And let the tears that will be shed today, let the silence that will sound louder than any words, let our respect, which is absolutely sincere, tell everyone what we really feel and how grateful we are to all our defenders, whose lives became the life of Ukraine.”Volodymyr Zelenskyy
In addition, Zelenskyy handed over the Gold Star Orders to family members of Ukrainian defenders who were posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine.
“May the memory of all our warriors be blessed,” he said.
“We Bow Our Heads To The Bravery And Loyalty Of Our Soldiers”
In a Telegram post, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi honored the memory of the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the fight for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We will not forget the feats of Ukrainian heroes who, in the struggle for the Motherland, for the free future of relatives and friends, gave the most valuable thing – their lives. We bow our heads to the bravery and loyalty of our soldiers. Eternal memory and eternal glory to all those who fought for the freedom of Ukraine!”Valerii Zaluzhnyi
The Day of Remembrance of the Defenders of Ukraine is a memorial day that was added to the Ukrainian official holiday calendar in 2019. It is observed on August 29 to honor the memory of Ukrainian soldiers and officers who died protecting the country’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity during the Ilovaisk tragedy.
The Ilovaisk tragedy was a treacherous shooting of Ukrainian soldiers who were forced to leave the captured Ilovaisk through a humanitarian corridor. At that time, Ukrainian forces attempts to liberate the city were thwarted by the regular army of the Russian Federation, which entered Ukraine on Aug. 24, 2014.
According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, 368 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during the entire Ilovaisk operation from August 6 to August 31, and more than 250 were killed as they were withdrawing along the “corridor” on August 29, 2014.
More than 400 soldiers were wounded and about 300 were taken as captives.
The ongoing war has lent a new meaning to this commemoration as a lot of soldiers are being killed on a near daily basis.