Zelensky Claims Ukraine's Independence from the USSR During a Military Parade

Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky today claimed his country's "restoration of independence" from the Soviet Union during a military parade to celebrate that fact.

"Today is the day of the restoration of independence," a term widely used in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to refer to their split from the Soviet Union and used for the first time by a Ukrainian president.

One can "occupy territories, but not the hearts of Ukrainians" said Zelenski in allusion to the annexation of Crimea and the occupation of part of the Donbas by Russia, when inaugurating that great military parade in Kiev.

"We are a young country with 1,000 years of history. We are a young family that has its roots in the glorious dynasty of Kievan Rus, Ukraine. We are not orphans, we are descendants of a powerful state in the center of Europe," Zelensky said on the rostrum installed on Independence (Maidan) Square.

The head of state announced the establishment, and on the same platform signed the corresponding decree, of a new national holiday, the Day of the Ukrainian state, which will be celebrated on July 28, the day commemorating the baptism of Kievan Rus.

Zelensky emphasized the multinational character of Ukraine and stressed that the country will not allow anyone to "appropriate its history" and "annex its heroes".

Ukraine, he added, has broad international support, as demonstrated by the Crimean Platform summit held Monday in Kiev, where representatives of 46 countries adopted a declaration condemning the Russian occupation of the peninsula.

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