For the first time since 2009 Kyiv has held a military parade to mark Independence Day.
For 23 years, since the Soviet Union’s collapse, Ukraine has been its own country. But now they say their territorial integrity and independence are threatened and the country is at war in the east.
While some said a military parade was inappropriate, attitudes are hardening by the day, and the country’s new president was emphatic that there would be no surrender.
“The war was not our initiative. It was forced upon us from the outside. Our choice is peace and realisation of a peaceful plan for Donbas which I suggested back in June,” said Petro Poroshenko.
Poroshenko also announced a 2.2 billion euro boost to defence spending.
“This is a day of commemoration and celebration at the same time. Now its a real holiday in Ukraine, it was different in previous years. This time the country is really united,” said one man.
“I want this war to be over tomorrow or today already. And I want to ask the people of Donbass not to do anything stupid which could divide our country. Ukraine is united. And Crimea is also part of Ukraine,” said a woman.
Poroshenko reviewed his troops beside the new memorial in Kyiv erected in memory of the 100 civilians who died in the Maidan protests.
“Despite some criticism over the idea of holding a parade amid war, many Ukrainians say they believe this event was necessary to boost morale. Some of the troops, along with the military equipment will leave for the operation in the East – straight from this square, where they’ve just marched,” says euronews’ Angelina Kariakina.