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Ukraine’s Independence Day celebrations won’t have the usual fanfare: NPR


Ukrainians visit an avenue where destroyed Russian military vehicles were displayed in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Andrew Kravchenko/AP


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Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

Ukrainians visit an avenue where destroyed Russian military vehicles were displayed in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Andrew Kravchenko/AP

Ukraine’s Independence Day celebrations won’t have the usual fanfare as Russia persists with its invasion.

August 24 marks the day the Ukrainian parliament swore to secede from the Soviet Union in 1991. This year’s date will also mark six months since the start of the war.

Perhaps the most striking change from past festivities concerns the parade.

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

Thousands of people marched along the path as more flatbed trucks brought in their cargo.

Andrew Kravchenko/AP


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Andrew Kravchenko/AP

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

Thousands of people marched along the path as more flatbed trucks brought in their cargo.

Andrew Kravchenko/AP

Instead of Soviet-style events – a ritual that President Volodymyr Zelensky called wasteful – the Ukrainian army lines the road with the burnt husks of Russian military equipment.

“I think it’s appropriate, even if it’s sad,” Mykhailo Virchenko told NPR as he and his wife, Lubov, walked past the facility on Sunday.

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

Children played on the cannons, while friends took selfies in front of armored personnel carriers.

Andrew Kravchenko/AP


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“We hope we can celebrate independence without weapons in the future. Maybe with flowers and dances instead,” Lubov said.

Thousands of people marched along the path as more flatbed trucks brought in their cargo. Children played on the cannons, while friends took selfies in front of armored personnel carriers.

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

These are some of the engravings seen on Russian military equipment. On the left, “for Mariupol”. is carved out of metal. On the right, “for Mykolaiv” is written in black marker.

Julien Hayda


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Julien Hayda

Exposed to the elements, rust coats armor where people have carved graffiti like “revenge for Mariupol” or “for Mykolaiv”, Ukrainian towns that Russia has attacked since February.

Ukrainian officials are warning civilians against gatherings in major cities ahead of the holidays.

“Russia can try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel,” Zelenskyy said during his Saturday night speech.

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

Instead of Soviet-style events to celebrate Independence Day – a ritual that President Volodymyr Zelensky had called wasteful – the Ukrainian army lines the road with the burnt husks of Russian military equipment.

Andrew Kravchenko/AP


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Andrew Kravchenko/AP

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

Instead of Soviet-style events to celebrate Independence Day – a ritual that President Volodymyr Zelensky had called wasteful – the Ukrainian army lines the road with the burnt husks of Russian military equipment.

Andrew Kravchenko/AP

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser in Zelenskyy’s office, said Russia would do whatever it could to make the Ukrainian people miserable.

“You will remember that they said they would march through downtown Kyiv within three days of the invasion. Here we are six months later, having demonstrated how weak Russia is compared to the Ukraine. So they will want their compensation,” Podolyak said.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture has confirmed that there will be no public celebration to mark the holiday. Current martial law prohibits large public gatherings.

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

People look at destroyed Russian military equipment on Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv.

Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images


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Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

People look at destroyed Russian military equipment on Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv.

Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

“I think we can only celebrate once we win,” Kyiv resident Valentyn Paska told NPR. “I’m just going to work that day.”

Instead, the military will hold private flag-raising ceremonies and some monuments in the capital will be illuminated in blue and yellow, the colors of the flag.

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

Attracting the attention of a large number of pedestrians and amateur photographers in downtown Kyiv, a large column of burned and captured Russian tanks and infantry carriers was displayed.

Andrew Kravchenko/AP


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Andrew Kravchenko/AP

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations won't have the usual fanfare: NPR

Attracting the attention of a large number of pedestrians and amateur photographers in downtown Kyiv, a large column of burned and captured Russian tanks and infantry carriers was displayed.

Andrew Kravchenko/AP


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