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07 December, 2022
 
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Ukrainians celebrate their Independence Day as war rages on

Boris Johnson pays visit to Ukraine as its citizens revel in a surreal display of burnt-out Russian tanks and armor in central Kiev

The Ukrainian Ambassador to Cyprus, Ruslan Nimchynskyi, expressed the Ukrainian embassy's and the Ukrainian community’s gratitude to Cyprus and other countries for the solidarity exhibited in an event that took place on Wednesday on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence.

In a tweet, the Ambassador referred to a “fantastic action in support of Ukraine” with the participation of the leadership of Cyprus’ Foreign Ministry and Heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Cyprus. “The Embassy of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Community are sincerely grateful for this sign of solidarity! Together to Victory!,” the Ambassador said in his tweet.

In Ukraine, citizens reveled in a surreal display of burnt-out Russian tanks and armor laid out this week as war trophies in central Kyiv to mark the 31st anniversary of independence, but fears of fresh Russian attacks lurked behind their show of defiance.

An air raid siren perforated an eerie calm in Kyiv on the morning of Wednesday's Independence Day following dire warnings that Russia could launch fresh attacks on major cities. Kyiv has warned Moscow of a powerful response if that happens.

The public holiday, which falls six months into Russia's invasion, is usually marked with a military parade, but fearing attacks on mass rallies, Kyiv has banned public events in the city this year and the streets were much quieter than normal.

"I hope (the war) will end this year, so we can be joyful next spring... I'd like us to get more help, so it can end sooner and we can start living the happy life we had before the war," said Anna Husieva, 27, a Kyiv resident.

In the run-up to the state holiday, citizens had thronged the central thoroughfare, posing for photos by the carcasses of Russian tanks and eating candy floss colored in the yellow and blue of the national flag.

They mused at the irony of the armor display months after Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, touted plans for a Russian military parade in Kyiv - until Moscow's assault on the capital was abandoned in March.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived in Ukraine today in honor of its Independence Day, which coincidentally has fallen on the 6-month anniversary of the Russian invasion.

"This is the third time Boris Johnson has been in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. Not all countries are so lucky to have such a friend," said President Volodymyr Zelensky, welcoming the British Prime Minister.

Johnson himself, in a tweet, emphasized, "What happens in Ukraine matters to all of us. That is why I am in Kyiv today. This is why the UK will continue to stand by our Ukrainian friends. I believe that Ukraine can and will win this war."

[With information from CNA and Reuters]

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Cyprus  |  Ukraine

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