Day of the Volunteer
Many of the activists who served Ukraine in The Revolution of Dignity went on to form the first volunteer battalion, defending Ukraine from Russian aggression in the east
Today is the Day of the Volunteer in Ukraine. It was on this day in 2014 that the first 500 volunteer fighters of the Maidan Self-Defense unit arrived at the New Petrovtsy training ground near Kyiv to form the first volunteer battalion.
At the beginning of April 2014, the battalion relocated to the Dnipropetrovsk region and received the name “Dnepr-2.”
On January 17, 2017, the Verkhovna Rada decided to celebrate a holiday “in order to commemorate the courage and heroism of the defenders of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, to further strengthen the patriotic spirit in society, strengthen public attention and care for volunteers and in support of the public initiative.”
Today, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in his address congratulated his compatriots on the Day of the Volunteer.
“This day reminds us of recent, but already historical events, the participants of which we were and are. In February 2014, the country was in traumatic shock from the shooting of the Heavenly Hundred. But it was believed that the worst was over,” Poroshenko said.
Poroshenko stressed that the Russian Federation struck a blow at Ukraine in its most difficult transition period.
“The Kremlin was absolutely confident in the success of its blitzkrieg. They knew that the Ukrainian army was plundered, destroyed from the inside and incapable. No wonder, after all, the destruction of the Ukrainian Armed Forces for a long time was led by Russian curators,” Poroshenko said.
Hundreds, many who had just been activists in the Maidan Revolution came to Ukraine’s eastern defense in March 2014.
Volunteers were among the first to enter Slavyansk, seizing the headquarters of the separatists and an arsenal of weapons. They were involved in combat operations in Krasny Liman, Bakhmut, Popasna, Debaltseve, Stanitsa Luganskaya, Uglegorsk, Marinka, Avdiivka and other places.
The former volunteer units are now integrated into the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard. They’re well-trained and well-equipped.
“We will never repeat the mistakes of the past, because it was the weakening of the army that created the ground for aggression against Ukraine. And we will never forget the feat of our volunteers,” Poroshenko said.