September 2nd, 1945 was the day when Japan, the last of the Axis states to be in a state of war against the Allied forces, announced its capitulation. What directly precipitated Japan’s exodus from the war was the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, yet this date is of symbolic significance for all countries whose war effort contributed to the victory over Nazi Germany and its allies. Ukraine, then part of the USSR, stands proud amongst the victors. The years 1941-1945 alone claimed a sixth of the country’s population, and the subsequent famine also took a heavy toll.
Commemorating the date, and striking a new balance between the Ukrainian patriotic worldview and that of the older generation, Kharkiv city authorities, as well as representatives of the city and regional councils, the ‘ATO Veterans’ Union’, veterans of all ages, as well as clerics and members of the general public, joined a ceremonial laying of flowers at the Glory Memorial.
Svitlana Horbunova-Ruban, Deputy of Kharkiv’s Mayor Hennadiy Kernes, gave a brief speech, in which she noted similarities between WWII and Ukraine’s current struggle to dislodge occupying Russian forces from the country’s eastern regions. “The government and politicians must do their best to put an end to the bloodshed, to stop our sons [from] dying, so that children can play in the street without fear”, she said, adding “I hope to see a peaceful and prosperous Ukraine in the very near future.”