Today, Ukraine celebrates May 9 – Day of Victory over Nazism.
We will never forget the terrible price of this victory. According to various estimates, this is at least 50 million victims, of which more than 8 million are killed and tortured Ukrainians.
Remembering all the horrors of that period, we do not make the war a cult. And this important day is not an advertising campaign, not a slogan competition, not a pompous dance on the bones competition. Because to honor the feat of everyone who brought the victory closer, the main thing is not loudness, but sincerity. And our victory is in everyone’s heart.
Today there are very few World War II veterans left.
And it is a shame that we mention them mostly on these May days. We must thank them every day instead. They gave their youth to the war so that we could have our youth.
More than seven million Ukrainians in the Anti-Hitler Coalition opposed Nazism both in their homeland and on different continents of the planet.
Undoubtedly, a human feat does not have a passport. But the contribution of Ukrainians to the victory over Nazism is enormous. And today no one can privatize victory. No one can say that it could have happened without Ukrainians. We must not forget this, we must not be ashamed and give up the feats of our Ukrainian heroes to anyone else.
That is why today we will proudly recall the names that Ukraine can and should be proud of.
This is Ivan Kozhedub. Three times Hero of the Soviet Union, the best pilot of World War II, who shot down more than 60 enemy aircraft.
This is Nicholas Oresko. Recipient of the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart – the highest military decorations in the United States. He was personally awarded by President Harry Truman in the White House.
This is Evdokia Zavaliy – the first and only woman – commander of a platoon of marines that took part in the battles for Kerch and Sevastopol.
This is Olena Witter, who saved dozens of Jewish children in the Holocaust and became the first Ukrainian to receive the title of Righteous Among the Nations.
This is Crimean Tatar Amet-Khan Sultan, who destroyed 30 German aircraft, received two Golden Stars of the Hero of the Soviet Union, and at the time of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars did not renounce his people and fought for their rights.
This is Tetiana Marcus. An underground representative who killed several dozen Nazi soldiers and officers at the age of 21 during the occupation of Kyiv and was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine.
These are workers of the Kharkiv Machine Building Design Bureau, who created the legendary T-34. And Ihor Pobirchenko, who was the first to break the gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp on this tank.
This is academician Oleksandr Bogomolets, whose blood collection and transfusion system saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of wounded soldiers.
This is poet Olena Teliha executed by the Nazis in Babyn Yar.
Vasyl Kurka, who became a sniper at the age of 16 and killed a total of 179 enemies.
Maria Shcherbachenko, who carried 112 wounded off the battlefield.
Alex Diachenko, after whom the destroyer of the US Navy was named.
Oleksiy Berest, a native of the Sumy region, who hoisted the USSR flag over the Reichstag.
Michael Strank, a native of the Ukrainian Lemko family, who raised the US flag on Iwo Jima.
These and hundreds of thousands of other names today inspire the current generation of Ukrainian defenders. With their courage, self-sacrifice and the main truth: “Ukrainians will definitely win”.
We defeated Nazism 75 years ago. It took another 46 years for us to gain an independent Ukrainian state. And today, for the sixth year in a row, we are defending it.
These are all pages of our history that unite and make us stronger. Today, with faith in our goal, I am announcing a project of memorial symbols. We want to install four bells in Ukraine. Yesterday, I was in the Luhansk region, near the first village, where the liberation of Ukraine began in 1942. The first bell will be placed there – the Remembrance Bell.
Today, I am in Zakarpattia, near the place where the expulsion of the invaders ended. The Victory Bell will be placed here.
We believe and will do our best to make sure that the day comes when two more bells are placed: the Peace Bell in Donetsk and the Unity Bell in Simferopol.
And at the moment when peace comes in Ukraine and we return our people and our land, four bells will simultaneously announce this significant event in the history of Ukraine.
And each of them will engrave in our mind: “Let us remember that unity is the key to our peace and our victory”.
Congratulations on May 9! Congratulations on the Victory Day!