Western leaders salute Ukraine on its Independence Day

Aug 23, 2022, 3:43 PM | Updated: Aug 24, 2022, 10:43 am
Ukrainians sing a national anthem as part of the celebration of Ukrainian's Independence Day in War...

Ukrainians sing a national anthem as part of the celebration of Ukrainian's Independence Day in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. A global singing of the anthem project is expected to unite Ukrainians around the world and to establish a record for simultaneous global performance of the anthem. (AP Photo/Michal Dyjuk)

(AP Photo/Michal Dyjuk)

Western leaders pledged unwavering support for Ukraine as the war-ravaged country marked its Independence Day on Wednesday, coinciding with the six-month milestone of Russia’s invasion.

Leaders paid tribute to the sacrifices and courage of the Ukrainian people, voiced their resolve to keep supplying Ukraine with weapons and reviled Moscow for its attack on the neighboring Eastern European nation.

In Britain, floral and musical tributes punctuated a show of solidarity as Ukraine commemorated its 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. The U.K. Ministry of Defense tweeted a video of the Scots Guards Band, which usually provides musical accompaniment for the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, performing Ukraine’s winning Eurovision Song Contest entry, “Stefania.”

An arch of sunflowers — Ukraine’s national flower — decorated the entrance to the British prime minister’s Downing Street office. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is soon to leave office, urged allies to keep giving Ukraine all the military, humanitarian, economic and diplomatic support it needs.

“We will never recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea or any other Ukrainian territory,” Johnson said in a Tuesday video address to an international summit on Russia’s seizure of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

Like London, Brussels also chose to dress up for the occasion. The Belgian city, which is home to the European Union’s institutions, decked itself out in the colors of the Ukrainian national flag. A giant Ukrainian flag was unfurled in the capital’s historic Grand Place.

U.S. President Joe Biden, marking the day by announcing significant new military aid to Ukraine, noted that the anniversary was “bittersweet” for many Ukrainians, as they continue to suffer but take pride in withstanding Russia’s “relentless attacks.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a video posted on Twitter that “our hearts go out to those who pay for the Russian war terror with their lives day after day, who are maimed and wounded.”

“We mourn with those who have lost friends or family members, who have had to flee, have been taken from their beloved homeland or by Russian occupiers, who have lost their belongings to Russian bombs, rockets and artillery shells,” the chancellor said.

Scholz had harsh words for Russia, rebuking the Kremlin for its “backward imperialism,” and stressed that Ukraine “will drive away the dark shadow of war because it is strong and brave, because it has friends in Europe and all over the world.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a video message bookended with phrases he spoke in Ukrainian, said the defense of Ukraine meant “refusing to allow international relations to be ruled by violence and chaos.”

He said Ukraine’s Independence Day “is a day of pride. But in the place of legitimate festivities, we are thinking of the dead and the fighters today, of the courage and resilience of your people.”

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin adopted a similar tone, calling Ukrainians “brave and unyielding.” She added: “We stand with you. We won’t look away.”

Ukraine offers a lesson that “freedom and democracy will always win out over coercion and violence,” Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, said.

Pope Francis marked the half-year anniversary of the invasion by decrying the “insanity” of war and lamenting that innocents on both sides were paying the price.

The pontiff warned about the risk of nuclear disaster in Ukraine, a reference to the shelling of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhhia nuclear power plant. He also lashed out at those who were profiting from the war, especially weapons manufacturers.

Francis has stepped up his denunciations of the war, though he rarely blames Russia or President Vladimir Putin by name, evidence that the Vatican is trying to keep dialogue open with Moscow.

In Poland’s capital, Warsaw, a few dozen Ukrainians, mostly women and children, gathered before a Ukraine community center and sang the national anthem. Many were dressed in embroidered folk shirts.

Scores of people, including Portuguese politicians, attended a gathering in Lisbon, Portugal, by the city’s statue of Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine’s preeminent poet of the 19th century and a symbol of national renaissance. In Madrid, the 18th-century Cibeles fountain, a city landmark, was due to be lit up with the Ukrainian colors after sunset.

___

Follow all of AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The Amazon logo is pictured on Sept. 6, 2012, in Santa Monica, Calif. Amazon filed a lawsuit on Mon...
Haleluya Hadero, Associated Press

Amazon sues Washington’s labor agency over alleged hazards

Amazon has sued Washington state’s labor agency following disputes with regulators over citations and fines imposed on the company for worker safety issues.
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Guilty! Law school sends out erroneous admissions emails

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts law school says it’s guilty of accidentally sending acceptance emails to thousands of former and current applicants. The Northeastern University School of Law in a statement Wednesday blamed a “technical error” for the glitch, saying the erroneous emails went to more than 200 people who applied for admission starting next […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

23 hostages from Nigeria passenger train reported freed

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — More than 20 people who were abducted from a passenger train in Nigeria have regained their freedom after more than six months, Nigerian authorities said Wednesday. A government committee assembled by Nigeria’s chief of defense staff “secured the release and took custody of all the 23 remaining passengers held hostage,” the […]
2 days ago
FILE - Janet Pierson attends the Sundance IFC breakfast in Park City, Utah on Jan. 19, 2009. SXSW a...
Associated Press

SXSW’s Pierson steps down after 15 years leading film fest

NEW YORK (AP) — After 15 years running SXSW’s film festival, director Janet Pierson is stepping down. Her longtime deputy, Claudette Godfrey, will take over leading the annual Austin, Texas, gathering, one of America’s premier film festivals. SXSW announced the change Wednesday, saying that Pierson, a longtime champion of independent film, will shift to a […]
2 days ago
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks from a lectern before signing legislation cutting the state’s in...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Tax cut trend reaches two-thirds of states

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — States brimming with cash are cutting taxes at a rapid pace. With the enactment Wednesday of an income tax cut in Missouri, about two-thirds of U.S. states have adopted some sort of tax relief in 2022. For taxpayers, the trend means billions of dollars back in their pockets. Some already […]
2 days ago
FILE - This combo of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, show Tou...
Associated Press

State, cops seek to bar evidence in trial over Floyd killing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors and defense attorneys for two former Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd have filed more than 100 motions to limit testimony or evidence at trial — with many requests relying heavily on what happened at the previous two trials in Floyd’s death. J. Alexander Kueng and Tou […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Western leaders salute Ukraine on its Independence Day