President Petro Poroshenko has said Ukraine will bring its national flag back to occupied areas in Donbas.He was speaking at the solemn ceremony of raising the National Flag of Ukraine at Sofiyska Square. Apart from his wife Maryna and the country's top officials, he was accompanied by Mariya, the daughter of Hero of Ukraine Volodymyr Rybak.
He said that respect for national symbols demonstrates public consciousness, capacity and readiness to join efforts and overcome the emerging challenges and threats."We face a very challenging task – to do so that our flag flies again over Donetsk and Luhansk, Simferopol and Sevastopol," Poroshenko said.He recalled a resident of occupied Luhansk, Hanna Ivanivna, who dared to bring the flag to the monument to Ukraine's famous poet Taras Shevchenko on his birthday despite the actual threat to his life. He also mentioned Ukrainian patriots in Russia-annexed Crimea who raised the Ukrainian flag on 18 March."I would also like to recall the brave deed of one Ukrainian warrior, although I can’t mention his name because he is a reconnaissance scout. Thanks to him, our flag flied over the occupied facilities near Maryinka despite the occupiers’ shelling. Previously, the servicemen of the Special Operations Forces of Ukraine raised our flag over the village of Zaytseve on the outskirts of Horlivka", the Head of State noted.
"All of these are steps to return our Ukrainian flag to Donbas. These are steps to return our flag to Crimea," he said.
Poroshenko said it was symbolic that Donbas-born athlete Oleh Vernyayev won the Olympic gold, bringing glory to Ukraine, our flag and our anthem in far-away Rio de Janeiro. The president paid tribute to Hero of Ukraine Volodymyr Rybak, who sacrificed his life protecting the flag of Ukraine in his native Horlivka when the hostilities were only brewing there.A minute of silence was observed for Rybak and many others who died for the independence of Ukraine.