70 years ago our grandfathers and great-grandfathers liberated Ukraine from fascist invaders.
In March 1939, 6 months before the beginning of the Second World War, our country was one of the first to feel the breath of bloody tragedy. Heroic defenders of the Carpathian Ukraine entered an unequal battle with occupational troops. Since then, during 6 long and extremely difficult years, Ukraine has been the game arena of two totalitarian regimes and the place of increasingly tough and large-scale hostilities.
Here, on our land, the future of the world was being determined. In the midst of global confrontation the belligerents held almost half of all strategic defensive and offensive operations. More than 60% of Wehrmacht land troops were destroyed in Ukraine. More than 9 million Ukrainians fought with the enemy in the ranks of the Red Army. Several million Ukrainians fought with the Nazis and their allies in the ranks of the UIA, in guerrilla units, in the Polish, American, Australian, British, Canadian armies, in the units of French, Yugoslav and Slovak resistance.
Contribution of Ukrainians to the liberation of European people from Nazism and common victory in the Second World War is undeniable. Even not being an independent state, Ukraine de-facto turned out an important member of Anti-Hitler coalition and deservedly became a co-founder of the UN.
To overcome fascism, our people paid an incredibly high price – millions of dead, wounded and unborn. According to different estimations, from 8 to 9 million Ukrainians died in battles, occupation, concentration camps, ghettos and prisons abroad. Dozens of thousands of Ukrainian cities and villages were turned into ruins. Quarter of residents lost their homes.
The borders of Ukraine have been inviolable for 70 years until the war has returned again. This time it came not from the West, but from the East.
For the first time in 70 years, we again stood up to defend Ukraine, its freedom and territorial integrity.
I bow to the bright memory of your fallen brothers and all compatriots who died in that war.
I express sincere gratitude to each of you for courage in battles and hard work in the post-war period, for persistence and self-sacrifice.
I am confident that your power of spirit and unwavering faith in the triumph of good over evil will inspire new generations of Ukrainians to defend their native land and build father’s house.
Please be sure: love, respect and care of the entire Ukrainian people will always remain with you.
I wish you strong health and happiness for long years to come.
Dear ATO participants!
You are grandsons and great-grandsons of those who defended the country 70 years ago.
You are decent descendants of courageous ancestors.
The whole Ukraine bows to you for your everyday feat, courage and heroism with which you defend Ukraine from militants and interventionists.
I strongly believe in our victory in the Patriotic War of 2014. I believe that my political-diplomatic plan will work out and bring peace to the Donbas and the entire Ukraine.
Nation that remembers the valor of ancestors is invincible.
Everyone who defended native land in the past and defends it today must be respected by the public.
Glory to Ukraine!
President of Ukraine