“Alas, at the moment we fight not only against [Russia’s] armed aggression but also hybrid aggression. In Russia’s hybrid aggression, energy sources, language, historical and religious themes are used. It’s a new challenge,” Ukraine’s Consul General to Kraków Vyacheslav Voynarovskiy told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) during Friday’s celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Ukraine regaining its independence organised by the Kielce city authorities, the Świętokrzyskie province and the Europe-East Integration Association (SIEW).
Mr Voynarovskiy thanked Polish governmental and non-governmental authorities for their support provided to Ukraine. “For us, President Andrzej Duda and the Polish Armed Forces’ attendance of the celebrations of Independence Day on August 24 in Kyiv was of utmost importance. This tells us that Ukraine can count on the support of the international community.”
The diplomat went on to say that “putting up the fight, Ukraine protects not only its interests but also the entire international community.”
For his part, the Świętokrzyskie province head Andrzej Bętkowski stressed that Poland and Ukraine were united by historic ties. “We are aware that Ukraine, on the 30th anniversary of regaining its independence is living through issues linked with the annexation of Crimea and the Donbas events where Ukrainian soldiers have been dying,” he said, following up with wishes of “development, prosperity and achievement of full sovereignty.”
Mr Bętkowski cited Marshal Józef Piłsudski’s words, who memorably said that “there can be no free Poland with no free Ukraine”. “That is why we should and must support each other,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Kielce Mayor Bodan Wenta made notice of the fact that his city was partnered with the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, stressing both cities’ authorities years-long cooperation.
As part of the celebrations in Kielce, the SIEW organised a Foreigners’ Information Centre at the city market, where assistants provided free from charge counselling on the legalisation of residence and work. Gratuitous legal and psychological advice was also available, as well as registration for Polish language courses tailored for foreigners.
The celebration of Ukraine’s Independence Day was complemented with an exhibition of art by Nikifor Krynicki — a world-famous naive artist of Lemko origin. Lemkos are an ethnic group inhabiting a region known as Lemkivshchyna (meaning “Lemko Land”) in Carpathian Ruthenia, an ethnographic region of the Carpathian Mountains and Foothills spanning Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland.
Ukraine’s Independence Day is celebrated on the anniversary of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine proclaimed by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) on August 24, 1991.