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Valuing Independence Days

Ukraine celebrated its independence day with President Volodymyr Zelensky announcing a deadly Russian missile attack on a rail station that killed 22 people and injured 50 others.

Zelensky was speaking on the day his nation celebrated its 1991 independence from the Soviet Union, a day which also marks the sixth month since Russian President ordered his troops to invade Ukraine.

Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev has shut down public service centers and safety concerns over potential Russian attacks have closed shopping centers and discouraged crowds from gathering during its independence day. Instead of parades and fanfare, disabled Russian tanks, trucks and armored vehicles have been installed near the government quarter to showcase Ukraine’s defiance and military prowess against its supposedly more powerful neighbor.

In the Philippines, as with most of the world, foreign embassies and diplomatic missions have reaffirmed their support for Ukraine and its right to uphold sovereignty and territorial integrity as it marks 31 years of independence while defending itself from Russia’s unprovoked aggression.

In a joint statement, the embassies of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union delegation to the Philippines said they stand with Ukraine.

The joint statement also condemned Russia’s continued attempts to redraw borders by force, saying it is a blatant violation of international law and breach of the United Nations Charter. They affirmed their strong opposition to any unilateral action that seeks to undermine the international rules-based system that underpins global peace, prosperity and security.

The diplomats saluted the courage and resolve of the Ukrainian people in their defense of their homeland and in their fight for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future.

Ukraine’s independence day celebrations are a grim reminder for many of us who have celebrated the same holiday for many years without ever having to worry of losing what our forebears have fought and bled for to an new invader or aggressively unreasonable neighbor. Let us continue to voice our support for Ukraine as it fights for its sovereignty so we can send a collectively message to the world leaders like Vladimir Putin that their wars of aggression against independent nations will never be tolerated.*

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September 2022
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