68 years have passed since the end of the World War II. Sometimes it seems the events belong to the far past, but on May 9 the history springs to life. On Victory Day Ukraine honors the memory of the fallen and renders honors to the living. For those who survived war times, this holiday is still important.

Solemn celebration of the 68th anniversary of victory in the WWII started early. At 8.30 in the morning the crowd already gathered on the central square Maydan and Khreshchyatyk.

The official festivity started at 9.00 a.m.

The victory parade was headed by defense minister of Ukraine Pavlo Lebedev.

The national colors were hoisted, and the national anthem was played.

After that the military-historical march started along Khreshchyatyk, including the march of military bands.

The parade also included the march of re-enactors, dressed in the WWII military uniform, and soviet combat equipment: tank T-34, armored vehicles, etc.

After the sort parade Kyiv residents and guests of the capital traditionally congratulated veterans, giving them flowers and thanking for the peace.

Veterans were accepting congratulations gladly and sharing their feelings. 


"I still feel the joy of victory. We paid a high price for this. Veterans must be praised and respected. There are only few of us left," Oleksiy Stepanovych told ForUm.

"I used to be an underground guerilla, a detachment commander from Kryvyi Rig. We were trained to fight in Chernigivschyna. You know they were rumors the parade was cancelled for this year. But I am happy it took place. These are our vehicles! I am very happy today," Viktor Ivanovych shared his feelings.

"I did not fight, I was a nurse. Until now I often have dreams about wounded soldiers being brought in an improvised field hospital hut... I wish nobody experiences war ever again," Olena Ivanivna added.


"It is a memorable day today. I remember the beginning of the war very well. I was eleven back then. And I also remember all four years of suffering. I was made an orphan. Half of my family was killed in the war, including parents. God forbid it happens again," Oleksiy Ivanovych said holding back tears.

"This is my father. He fought three wars. He liked to come to Maydan on May 9, and he always took me with him. Now I am alone, but always bring his photo with me, so it is like he is still with us. Old veterans are no longer among us. We are their children, and now we are old as well. I am 65 already," Volodymyr Petrovych said.

Traditional festivities were also held in the Kyiv Park of Glory and memorial complex "National history museum of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945". President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych took part in ceremony of laying flowers to the grave of the Unknown Soldier and congratulated Ukrainians on the holiday.

The ceremony of lighting the Flame of Glory and laying the wreath of Military glory was held near the monument of Mother Motherland.

No celebrations go without a concert. Stages were installed all over Kyiv to play war songs.

Kyiv residents and guests of the capital were also wined and dined with "field porridge" and "front-line 100 grams".

Veterans went home rather early, age was beginning to  tell.

Children quickly took their place. They were demanding to buy them peakless hats and were climbing happily the military vehicles.

"We came here to celebrate the Victory Day, the day when the Great Patriotic War was over," sisters Nastya and Alina (3 and 7 years old) shared their knowledge of history.

"I am from Moscow. I like here in Ukraine very much. Celebrations of the Victory Day in Kyiv are very cheerful. This is the day when our great-grandfathers won the war," Lisa, 9, added.

The festivities concluded with the traditional fireworks.

Yulia Artamoshchenko, photos by Viktor Kovalchuk and Maxim Trebukhov


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