The biggest flag in Ukraine — all 200 meters (656 toes) of it — was on show at Kyiv’s Olympic stadium on Wednesday, with a whole lot of individuals holding it up whereas singing the nationwide anthem and different patriotic songs.
They had been marking Ukraine’s “Day of Unity,” an impromptu celebration declared by
President Volodymyr Zelensky.
For Serhii Kachinskyi, 45, Unity Day is all about exhibiting the world that on a regular basis Ukrainians like himself are usually not afraid of potential armed battle.
We’ve got lived with this for eight years, we perceive what’s taking place and we aren’t afraid, we’re standing collectively and that is within the coronary heart of each Ukrainian,” he stated.
Whereas he stated the state of affairs has felt the identical for a lot of previous eight years, he sees one massive distinction.
We turned extra united, we’re pondering extra concerning the nation and we turned extra accountable,” he stated.
Wednesday’s significance: Zelensky introduced that immediately could be a “Day of Unity” throughout an deal with to the nation on Monday, remarking with irony that his authorities was advised Wednesday was the day Russia would invade Ukraine.
“We’re advised that February 16 would be the day of the assault. We’ll make it the Day of Unity. The related decree has already been signed. On today, we’ll hoist nationwide flags, placed on blue and yellow ribbons and present the world our unity,” Zelensky stated.
Whereas the celebrations had been muted, with some occasions across the nation solely attended by a handful of individuals, flags massive and small had been flying on many avenue corners.
The digital panels usually displaying commercials in Kyiv’s streets had been switched to a video exhibiting the flash flying, and a few authorities buildings had been coated with big blue and yellow banners.
Explaining conflict to kids: Natalya Schamych stated she got here to the stadium with a view to be a very good instance for her son. Youngsters weren’t allowed on the occasion, however she is going to relay the occasions to him. Schamych needs her son to develop as much as be a accountable citizen, so she typically talks about politics and civic obligation with him, she stated.
“I’d like for him to remain in our nation and to have a want to go away. I need him to have respect for the nation, to dwell and work right here,” she stated.
She stated her son was too younger to grasp the total image, however that he is aware of what’s going on.
“We try to present him info in a manner he can perceive, we don’t need him to get too scared,” she stated. “Within the kindergarten, they’re studying about this, they’ve military individuals are available in clarify the state of affairs, he is aware of the place he lives, he is aware of that there’s a conflict.”
Life goes on: In the meantime, dashing to work in central Kyiv, 48-year-old Alim wrapped himself in a Ukrainian flag as if it was a superhero cape. He has been carrying the flag with him on daily basis for eight years now, he advised CNN.
As a Crimean Tatar, he by no means accepted the Russian annexation of his residence area in 2014.
“It’s my civilian place. I’m from Crimea, I’ve been carrying it because the occupation,” he stated.
Across the nook, international dignitaries, together with the German and EU ambassadors to Ukraine, had been laying flowers by the Memorial Wall devoted to those that defended Ukraine throughout the conflict that began in 2014.
Many pinned their coats with blue and yellow ribbons to point out their solidarity with Ukraine.
For Alim although, Wednesday was simply one other day. One other day of carrying the flag, going about his personal enterprise.
Yulia Kesaieva contributed reporting to this submit.