Rebels parade captured soldiers on Ukraine independence day

Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine paraded dozens of captured soldiers before a jeering crowd on Sunday in mockery of the country’s independence day celebrations. In the capital, the Ukrainian government had sought to boost morale and send a defiant message to the rebels with an upbeat military parade to mark the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Speaking to a crowd of thousands in the iconic Independence Square, known locally as the Maidan, President Petro Poroshenko decried Russian “aggression” and said he was “convinced that the battle for Ukraine, for independence, will be our success.”

In the 21st century, in the centre of Europe, there is a flagrant attempt to breach the border of a sovereign state without declaring war.

President Petro Poroshenko

Poroshenko reviewed columns of men and armoured vehicles, noting that many of the men would soon be heading to the front lines. He said his government would spend US$3 billion on re-equipping the army in 2015-17. In a defiant and emotional speech, Poroshenko said his country was fighting “a war against external aggression, for Ukraine, for its freedom, for its people, for independence”. The words were directed at Moscow, which Kiev alleges is behind the rebellion.