May 10, 2023

Zelensky's Bold Move


Zelensky's Bold Move
Ukrainian national costumes. Nastya Khachaturiants, Wikimedia Commons.

In the midst of war, Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky proposed a bill to designate May 9 as "Europe Day" in Ukraine. May 8, Victory Day in Ukraine, will instead be celebrated as a "day of remembrance and victory over Nazism." In Russia, May 9 commemorates the victories made during World War II.

Since 2015, Ukraine observed the Allies' victories on both May 8 and 9. In a video message on this year's Victory Day, Zelensky compared the defeat of Russian forces in his country to the fall of Nazi Germany in WWII:

"It was on May 8, 1945, that the act of unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht entered into force. It is on May 8 that the world honors the memory of all those whose lives were taken by that war. We destroyed evil together, in the same way as we are now standing together against a similar evil."

"Together with all of free Europe, we will mark May 9 in Ukraine as Europe Day: [the day] of a united Europe, the basis of which should be and will be peace; [a day] of our Europe," Zelensky said. "Ukraine has always been, is, and will be a part of [this Europe]."

On the other side, Putin used Russia's May 9 Victory Day to push the unfounded claim that Ukraine is a fascist state, similar to Nazi Germany, a pretext for Russia's war. Over 20 Russian cities have scrapped Victory Day parades and Moscow's celebrations were subdued.

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