Day of Unity: hundreds of kilometres apart, but together

Day of Unity: hundreds of kilometres apart, but together

104 years ago, when war was raging on the territory of Ukraine, the Ukrainian People's Republic and the West Ukrainian People's Republic were formed. On January 3, 1919, a decision was made in Stanislav to merge the WUPR and the UPR, and on January 22, 1919, the final procedure for formalizing the unity took place in Kyiv.

Today, there is a war again on the territory of Ukraine, which has separated Ukrainians once again: some were forced to stay in the temporarily occupied territories, some are in the territory controlled by Ukraine, and some have gone abroad. Nevertheless, they remain Ukrainians and work together for a peaceful future.

Kseniia, Severodonetsk — Germany

There is prejudice in society about the national consciousness of people in the East. However, my experience shows otherwise. At the school in Severodonetsk, I had a history teacher who is now in the Armed Forces. Every time on the Day of Unity, he would prepare events in honor of this day with us: we sang songs, prepared concerts, and invited Ukrainian soldiers. Today I am grateful to the teacher for telling us the real history.

Today, I understand even more that we have a national idea, unlike Russia. 

Even walking down the streets of Berlin, I notice Ukrainians and feel at home. Recently, there was a concert in Strasbourg where they sang "Ty zh mene pidmanula" (Ukrainian folk song "You tricked me" — ed.), and thousands of Ukrainians sang along.

I want to go back home as soon as possible. I can't imagine my future children speaking German as their mother tongue, just as I can't imagine my life in Germany. Of course, the most painful thing for me is that my city is occupied, and no one can guarantee when we will return there. However, my future is definitely in Ukraine.

Oksana, Donetsk — Kharkiv — Czech Republic

Back in 2014, we already left Donetsk. Last year, we left our house in Kharkiv.

It seems that everyone became close from the beginning of the war and were like one family. 

People helped each other with water and food and bought something for each other. In addition, residents of our neighborhood helped the elderly and people with disabilities. Some people brought food from their farms for free.

We created online groups where we shared information and supported each other. At that time, unity was felt the most.

I think today we feel this unity more. My children and I are now in the Czech Republic, and there are always events dedicated to Ukrainian culture and Ukraine. It brings people together. We have always been a friendly nation, and now we will become even more united.

I want to go back home to Ukraine. We are counting the days until we meet with our husband and son, who remained in Ukraine, to celebrate the victory together.

Dmytro, Mariupol — Kyiv

We often had to sleep in the hallway and wake up from explosions that seemed to be near the house. Once a shell hit a neighboring house, and a fire started there. I, my father, and our neighbors started to put out the fire: every one carried water and rescued people. We were all together.

I remember how we brought dairy products to a woman who had just recently given birth. Or how parents had to go to the neighbors to cook because they still had gas. There were a lot of such situations.

I believe that Ukrainians are a united and strong nation. They want to help one another. In Mariupol, many people helped others, risking their own lives.

To be honest, until 2022, I did not pay much attention to the Day of Unity. However, now we can consider every day to be Unity Day.

Call sign "Hroza," 206th battalion

Day of Unity is an important day because my relatives on my mother's side are from a currently occupied city in the Luhansk region, and my father's side is from the Ivano-Frankivsk region. That is why it is important to liberate all our territories, to return people to their homes.

My ancestors' graves are under occupation, and I cannot visit them. And it shouldn't be like that.

People from different parts of Ukraine, from Uzhhorod to Donetsk, are fighting in our unit, so the Armed Forces of Ukraine best embody the idea of the unity of Ukrainians.