The Ukrainian way to freedom and independence
By By Svitlana Kholevan ‘15 and Tetiana Kholevan ‘15 | april, 2014, Issue 1
In November 2013 when Mr. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president, refused to sign the Association agreement with EU after years of negotiations, Ukrainians went out to the main Ukrainian square to protest his actions. Yanukovych sent riot police against the peaceful protestors; however, his actions only motivated more people to pour into the streets.
Ukrainians didn't want their President to act as a dictator. The president responded by declaring war against his own people. It was a very difficult period for our country. For more than three months Ukrainians protested in the streets, day and night. The Ukrainian nation became united as never before. People from all parts of Ukraine stood together and fought for their freedom. The police used gas, snipers, bombs and cold water, but people didn't leave the square. Several times the police tried to "clear" the main square of protesters, killing dozens and injuring hundreds, but the people didn't go. They were ready to die, they were not willing to give up their chance for a better future. Yanukovych fled the country as a criminal and coward.
The situation became even more complicated when after defeating our internal enemy, the Ukrainian nation has to deal with an external one. Taking advantage of a difficult situation in Ukraine, when our country hasn't even recovered from the bloodshed and chaos, Mr Putin, Russian President, cynically sent troops to Crimea to annex it. As the Crimean referendum was conducted with the presence of Russian military troops and in violation of the Ukrainian legislation, during a UN meeting, 100 countries voted in favor of Ukraine and didn't recognize the annexation of Crimea. The annexation of Crimea was a stab in the back from the "brother country." It was a violation of the terms of the Budapesht memorandum of 1994, according to which Ukraine abandoned the third largest arsenal of nuclear weapon in the world and Russia together with the USA and the UK obliged to guarantee Ukrainian national sovereignty and territorial integrity. A guarantor of Ukrainian sovereignty performed aggression against Ukraine and annexed a part of its territory!
The Russian aggression assured Ukraine that aligning with Europe was the right choice. We pray God to restrain Russia from a war with Ukraine and avoid even more bloodshed. We have already paid a high price for our freedom.
We are so proud to belong to the Ukranian nation, which didn't bend the knee to the dictator. and remember the heroes, who sacrificed their lives for our future. We were so impressed when we heard that in a leading Ukrainian university students, who were accepted for the state-financed education, refused their rights in favor of students from Crimea. Ukrainians from all parts of Ukraine donated more than UAH 60 million for modernization of the Ukrainian army. We feel that the country is united and changing for the better. We hope that Russian occupiers will finally leave Crimea and won't claim other parts of Ukraine. We hope that in the near future there will be no threat of aggression and that we will finally build a democratic European state, for which our heroes died.
Authors, The Kholevan Sisters '15 are native Ukrainians