In Russian-speaking Odessa on the Black Sea, a few hundred people vowed to defend themselves. “This is an information war and an incitement to panic. Russia has been at war with us for eight years, ”says Natalia Lysjuk.
“Honor Ukraine! Glory to the heroes! ” shouts echoed on the streets of the Black Sea port city of Odessa on Wednesday as Ukraine celebrated the newly invented National Unity Day.
On Monday, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi signed a decree making Wednesday the day of national unity.
The president made the decision after the United States informed its allies that Russia might attack Ukraine just Wednesday.
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Odessa in the center a few hundred people gathered in a parade of unity. Participants included officer and police candidates, but also students and other citizens.
The parade passed through the center to the famous stairs of Odessa, over which the tens of meters long Ukrainian flag was spread. Those gathered to sing the Ukrainian national anthem to the accompaniment of the trumpet.
“It’s good that the will to fight is being raised,” said the twenty who happened to be on the scene. Andrii. He didn’t know what the event was about at first, but seemed positively surprised and took photos of the event with his friends.
Another group of youth had come for the purpose. In his twenties Mary was wrapped in the flag of Ukraine. Her friend, a student in a vocational school It would be said that young people in Odessa are anti-Ukrainian.
It would be like many other visitors who spoke Ukrainian, even though Russian is the dominant language in Odessa.
“I spent three years on the front volunteering to help our troops,” said an Odessa resident Oksana Haritonova in Ukrainian.
“Now I am going to join the volunteer defense forces here in Odessa.”
“Together we are strong and we will not let the enemy into our country.”
A million on a city-wide scale, a mid-day demonstration was small.
In 2014, pro-Western and pro-Russian demonstrations were seen in Odessa, the clash of which ended in arson. Today, there are no prominent pro-Russian popular movements in the city.
Mayor of Odessa Hennady Truhanov told HS that the purpose of the day was to put Ukraine’s internal differences behind and show unity.
“Yesterday, the Odessa City Council appealed to the townspeople for unity. In the Chamber, the parties exchanged their own flags for Ukrainian flags as a sign of unity. ”
Only one party refused, a small pro-Russian Shari movement.
“Odessa is the most patriotic city in Ukraine. There are 130 nationalities living here, and everyone feels Ukrainian, ”Trukhanov said.
Few The streets of Odessa seemed to believe in the Russian invasion.
“This is an information war and an incitement to panic. Russia has been at war with us for eight years, ”he said Natalia Lysjuk in Ukrainian.
Lysjuk pointed out that Russia took over its Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Russia has also supported rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine. He has died in the violence International Crisis Group according to more than 14,000 people.
To war did not believe either Aleksandr Prigarin, who considered Unity Day a “prank”. Prigarin said he defended Russian culture in Odessa.
“This quarrel over the war will only benefit the United States, which now wants to challenge Europe, Ukraine and Russia once and for all.”
According to Prigarin, the threat is within Ukrainian society.
“Since 2014, Ukraine has become a very right-wing country, and at the same time Russianness has been made lawless.”
By this he refers, for example, to the closure of pro-Russian television channels during President Zelensky’s term.
According to Prigarin, Ukraine has already lost its independence to the United States.
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