Ukraine celebrates 28th anniversary of independence

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians on Saturday gathered in central Kiev to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the country’s Independence Day.

Started with national anthem performances, the celebrations also featured a speech by President Volodymyr Zelensky at the main square of Kiev, during which he expressed the hope that peace will soon arrive in the eastern Donbass region.

Waving national blue and yellow flags, uniform-clad soldiers and veterans who fought in Donbass marched through the central streets of the capital.

As a major part of the Independence Day celebrations, the March of Ukrainian Defenders and the Procession of Dignity were also joined by relatives of soldiers and volunteer groups.

There was no official military parade this year as President Zelensky decided to cancel the annual event to save money for soldiers’ bonuses.

Ukraine officially declared independence from the Soviet Union on Aug. 24, 1991.