According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 4 Ukrainian soldiers died on May 5, during the antiterrorist operation in Sloviansk, bringing total Ukrainian losses in the operation to 11. They died doing their combat duty... It is a tragedy. For the first time since its independence, Ukraine is fighting on its own soil, losing its soldiers in a battle to defend the country from a foreign invasion.
This is why we must change the way we will celebrate the Victory Day on May 9 this year, so that we honor the memory of those who died during the Second World War fighting the Nazis as well as celebrate heroes of our time, rethinking and giving new meanings and symbols to the holiday.
I think it would be right thing to do to bury all our recently fallen soldiers in the newly created Heroes’ Lane of the Baikove Cemetery precisely on May 9, provided, of course, that their families consent to it. This is the first time since 1945 that our soldiers were killed in action on our own soil, protecting it from an aggressive neighbor. Their funeral should feature all military honors but be held as a nationwide event. May God make it the last such funeral. Hopefully, it would finally be enough for many of our citizens to understand what our “strategic partner” is now. Most importantly, it would indicate how our society and state honor their true heroes today. While recognizing that the implementation of such a proposal would not be easy, it is feasible. Justice demands it to be done. This would indicate that we are all aware of a new, sharp turn in modern Ukrainian history that is taking place now, calling for a new Victory Days to celebrate new victories and bring awareness of their true price. I informed the leadership of the Ministry of Defense of this proposal. Clearly, it should be a national rather than just a departmental event, with all foreign ambassadors and military attaches invited, including Russians, whether they will come or not. My father served in infantry throughout the Great Patriotic War. He was at the recruiting station as soon as June 24, 1941, and came home in September 1945. He was wounded thrice, had a concussion, was twice taken prisoner only to escape both times, and finished the war in Prague. I barely remember some episodes of the war, mostly my mother’s fears and tears after receiving two messages, in triangle envelopes of field post, informing her that the father was missing, and then tears of joy on receiving the message that he was alive. I will celebrate May 9 as usual, and it should be celebrated. However, if my father was still alive now, all his old wounds would hurt him again, because our young soldiers are now fighting the Russians and dying on our soil, while the Germans are helping us to stop the aggressor.