In a poignant display of solidarity, the streets of Belgrade bore witness to the commemoration of Ukraine’s Independence Day.
With the unfurling of the Ukrainian flag in Republic Square and a Solidarity March, the occasion resonated deeply with the hundreds in attendance, including diplomatic dignitaries and members of the Ukrainian community.
Wending their way from Pionirski Park to Republic Square, the assembly paid tribute to the fallen with a minute of silence, accompanied by the resonant strains of both the Serbian and Ukrainian anthems.
Ambassador H.E. Volodymyr Tolkač of Ukraine addressed the gathering, acknowledging the constraints of the times: “Ukraine today celebrates its paramount national holiday, Independence Day. Given the circumstances, we are once again unable to extend our invitation for your presence and the savouring of Ukrainian delicacies. This day, yet again, dawns amidst the backdrop of conflict.”
Emanuele Giaufret, the Head of the EU Delegation in Serbia, affirmed the Union’s unwavering support for Ukraine throughout the ongoing Russian aggression. The Union, he disclosed, has already disbursed a staggering 74 billion euros in humanitarian and financial aid, supplemented by an additional 20 billion euros earmarked for military assistance. “We stand in awe of the Ukrainian people’s resolute spirit, one they dedicate to the cause of freedom, a pursuit that exacts a steep toll. Ukraine, the Western Balkans, Serbia, and Europe at large share a common legacy, a shared history, and a shared destiny; it is incumbent upon us to forge it,” he ardently declared.
H.E. Christopher Hill, the Ambassador of the United States, spoke of the universal outpouring of empathy for Ukraine: “Around the globe, thoughts have converged upon Ukraine, and many have felt an empathetic kinship. I take immense pride in the steadfast support rendered by the United States, a commitment that shall endure for as long as necessity demands. This, let it be known, is not solely the prerogative of our administration, but an expression of the collective sentiment of our people. Indeed, across the expanse of the United States, the Ukrainian flag flutters proudly in our yards,” he proclaimed.
The British Ambassador, H.E. Edward Ferguson, stood amidst the verdant Pionirski Park and articulated the shared solidarity with Ukrainian allies who, with unswerving valour, grapple for their lives, families, and liberty. The National Holiday of Ukraine commemorates the historic declaration of independence from the Soviet Union on the 24th of August, 1991.