Ukraine celebrates Tuesday, August 24 the 30 years of its independence in a context marked by an intensification of security risks.
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” This independence anniversary is fraught with concerns about the security of the country.s ”, explains Volodymyr Yermolenko, analyst for Internews Ukraine and editor-in-chief of the media UkraineWorld.org.
An “anniversary of independence loaded with worry”
In April, Kiev was alarmed by a military and verbal escalation by Russia in the Donbass region, letting weigh a new threat from Moscow, recalls the journalist. The last weekend was marked by the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Ukraine, at a time when the construction of the Russian-German gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 is completed and sows doubt with President Volodymyr Zelensky. .
If Angela Merkel tried to reassure him, he said it was ” of a dangerous geopolitical weapon of the Kremlin. No one can deny that the main risks with the completion of Nord Stream 2 will weigh on Ukraine “.
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The country has continued to be dependent on Russia for gas distribution, but until now, the latter had to pass through Ukraine to reach the rest of Europe. The culmination of such a project leaves a bitter taste on this day of festivities.
“ This bypass is bad economic and security news for Ukraine. If Russia no longer needs Ukraine to ship its gas to Europe, what will hold it back in its military aggressiveness? Ukraine’s dry energy makes it more vulnerable », Notes Alexandra Goujon, political scientist and specialist in Eastern European countries.
A symbolic summit
Despite everything, Volodymyr Zelensky can be delighted to have gathered in Kiev, on the eve of the anniversary of independence, some forty countries to inaugurate the Crimean Platform. This summit, indicative of international and diplomatic solidarity, aims to bring the annexation of Crimea by the Russians in 2014 up to date. ” The idea is to show that Ukraine is standing up, that it resists and that this aggression continues », Affirms Alexandra Goujon.
A report entitled ” Ukraine at 30: from independence to interdependence », Published recently and co-written by a group of researchers, journalists and organizations, invites us to see Ukraine’s independence no longer as a mere date, but as a process in its own right. If it was in 1991 that Kiev officially obtained its freedom, many Ukrainians date independence to August 24, 2014, marked by war in Donbass.
” It has become an extremely important day because of all the lives we have lost over the past seven years. We call the Russian-Ukrainian conflict “the war of independence”. This is a happy and tragic day for us », Says Eugenia, a young Ukrainian woman.
“We are not celebrating our government but our nation”
On multiple occasions, the Russian authorities tried to undermine the historical legitimacy of the country. However, and despite the growing political and economic instability that the country is facing, the annexation of Crimea and the start of the war allowed the reaffirmation of Ukrainian patriotism.
“ If one seeks a common Ukrainian identity, it is not in the field of memory or ethnic or religious identity but rather in terms of social action. There is a taste for freedom, for protest against injustice. These are the leitmotifs of Ukrainian history and independence Says Volodymyr Yermolenko.
The commemorations are a good pretext to get together. There is no doubt that this Tuesday, August 24 will be an important day of mobilizations for the Ukrainian population, as Eugenia suggests: “ We don’t celebrate our government but our nation “.