Without the millions of Ukrainian soldiers on the World War II battlefields, the world war would not have ended, as stated by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on May 9 in a speech at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War in front of soldiers from the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“Without the millions of soldiers, the Ukrainian soldiers on the World War II battlefields, the world war would not have ended. It would probably have lasted a lot longer,” the president said, as reported by his press service.
Poroshenko highlighted the significant contribution of Ukrainians towards the victory over Nazism in World War II.
According to him, marshals and generals of Ukrainian extraction led almost half of the 15 Russian fronts – roughly 300 Ukrainians. “But, according to my deep conviction, Nazism was won primarily by the Ukrainian soldier. A soldier, whatever his nationality. A soldier who did not fight for Stalin, but for his land, for his territory, for his family,” Poroshenko emphasized.
The president also emphasized that, due to its geographically strategic position, Ukraine was one of the primary staging areas of the world war, where regular troops engaged in combat over the course of 35 months.
“Granting the necessary tremendous role played by all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition in defeating the Third Reich, we are definitely proud of the contribution of Ukrainians towards achieving total victory and saving the world from Nazi subjugation. Our people, bled white by pre-war collectivization, the Holodomor, and the great terror of the 1930s, lost every fifth daughter and son in the flames of the worldwide human catastrophe,” Poroshenko observed.
The president emphasized that Ukraine must be aware of and remember the feats of Ukrainians on all fronts of the war – on the banks of the Dnieper, Donets, Volga, Ladoga, Vistula and Danube, in the skies of England, the deserts of North Africa and on the coast of Normandy and the Pacific islands.
“Today we honor our esteemed citizens, the people of the senior generation: the soldiers of all armies who defeated the Nazis, those who worked the rear, the war children, the company staff members and the martyrs of the Nazi concentration camps,” the president said.
On May 8, Ukraine observed the Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation. Since 2016, the country has observed the Day of Victory over Nazism in World War II, a holiday which replaced Soviet Victory Day.