In sharp contrast to the misery associated with the Covid-19 pandemic the Ukrainian Embassy in Dublin exuberantly celebrated Ukrainian Independence Day. Monday, 24 August 2020, marked Ukraine’s 29th Independence Day, having proclaimed their freedom from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Celebrations in Dublin began on 23 August on which Ukraine annually celebrates its National Flag Day. The Ukrainian flag, a horizontal design, equally divided with blue and yellow fields echoing Ukraine’s rich and expansive wheat fields topped by Ukraine’s renown blue summer skies, was raised by Ukrainian Embassy staff including Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Mrs. Olena Shaloput as well as Third Secretary for Consular Issues Mr. Oleksii Tiutiunenko along with their families and guests at the Ukrainian Embassy on Eglin Road, Dublin.
Festivities in Ireland also included a community Mass at the Ukrainian Catholic Chaplaincy which recently expanded its ministry with regular liturgies in both Dublin and Cork. During the liturgy in Dublin led by Fr. Vasyl Kornitsky, Mrs. Shaloput gave her greetings and remarks to the assembled Ukrainian community. Ukrainians in Cork also celebrated with a Mass at the Church of the Incarnation in Douglas.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Dublin also took part in a world-wide virtual celebration of Ukrainian Independence Day broadcast live on Facebook.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian First Lady led Ukraine’s celebrations beginning with a flag raising and the laying flowers to the heroes and victims of Ukraine’s struggle to retain their Independence in the aftermath of the Russian occupation of Donbas and Crimea. Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine has has brought near-universal condemnation and sanctions from the United Nations to European Union. Ireland has consistently voted to condemn Russian occupation of parts of both Georgia and Ukraine, voting to impose sanctions and later extend sanctions several times.
Later on Independence Day President Volodymyr Zelenskyy unveiled a short video online in which he highlighted all that modern Ukraine has to offer. Prior to Russian interceding in Ukraine in Donbas and Crimea in 2014, Ireland and Ukraine shared increasingly dynamic economic cooperation. Bilateral trade between Ireland and Ukraine increased almost threefold between 2009-2013 from more than €125 million to almost €355 million. Owing to Russian aggression in Ukraine bilateral trade in goods and services diminished by approximately 34%. Despite having to defend their homeland against Russian aggression, costing over 13,000 lives and causing more than 1.3 million Ukrainians to be internally displaced since 2014, Ukraine’s economy is now stable and growing. Ukraine’s IT sector is burgeoning owing to the high level of Ukraine’s advanced technical education and 5% IT sector corporate tax rate.