A rehearsal of the military parade in Kyiv on 18 August 2021. Photo: Olena Makarenko
Breaking with Petro Poroshenko’s tradition of inviting NATO forces for military parades for Independence Day on 24 August, in the first two years of Zelenskyy’s presidency, Ukraine did not hold a military parade at all. In 2019, President Zelenskyy said that the money is better used to pay bonuses to military staff, and in 2020 — that a big parade should be held when Ukraine wins in the war.
Both years, veterans, military volunteers, and family of soldiers KIA held their regular parallel unofficial parades while official Independence Day celebrations flaunted off pop tunes and shows.
This year, on Ukraine’s 30th Independence Anniversary, something changed. Military parades will be held in Kyiv, Dnipro, and Odesa, including in the Black Sea. For the first time, all the forces and equipment of Ukraine’s defense sector will be involved — i.e. the Army, Navy, and Air Forces. In a break with the two previous years, Ukraine’s international partners will participate as well.
All photos by Olena Makarenko
5,000 soldiers, 100 aircraft, 400 units of military equipment are planned to take part. There will be three columns on vul. Khreshchatyk in Kyiv — for infantry, air, and mechanized forces. In Dnipro, the passage of boats and a naval display of weapons and equipment will be organized. In Odesa, there will be a passage of warships, aircraft flights, and a display of weapons and military equipment.
Independence Day festivities will include President Zelenskyy awarding the “National legend of Ukraine” award, the first inaugural meeting of the Crimean Platform on 23 August, a summit of first ladies and gentlemen, and a concert for world leaders in the National Opera in Kyiv. On Independence Day itself, Andrea Boccelli will give a concert amid a festive show on the Olimpiyskyi sports stadium.
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- Divisions from eight NATO countries attend military parade on Ukraine’s Independence Day (2017)
- Relatives of soldiers killed in Donbas war march in alternative “parade” for Ukraine’s independence (2017)
- Units from ten NATO countries and Javelins in military parade on Ukraine’s 27th Independence Day (2018)
- Military gear adapted to NATO standards and other novelties at Ukraine’s Independence Day Parade (2018)
- Show replaces army parade on Ukraine’s 28th Independence day, so veterans hold their own march (2019)
- Ukrainian veterans hold record parallel parade in face of meek official Independence Day celebrations (2020)