8 May, 2015 – The Ukrainian Canadian Congress issued the following statement on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of V-E Day.
Today marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. In 2004, the United Nations General Assembly declared 8-9 May a time of remembrance of those who lost their lives during the Second World War. On May 8, 1945 Nazi Germany capitulated to the Western Allies and the Soviet Union and the guns of Europe fell silent after more than 5 years of the most brutal war ever inflicted upon humanity. The nations of Europe began the long and difficult process of rebuilding their lives and countries. The memory of the Nazi German death camps and the blood-soaked battlefields of Europe warns us of man’s capacity for evil and instills in us an eternal vigilance against inhumanity.
More than a million Canadians served in our country’s Armed Forces during the Second World War, and among them some 49,000 Canadians of Ukrainian origin. More than 45,000 Canadians gave their lives defending freedom. We will forever remember their sacrifice and remain eternally grateful to those who served our country with such determination and courage in the struggle for freedom. Today we pay tribute to all who fell in the battle against Nazism, to all who paid with their lives so that we may live in peace.
While on the Western front, Canada and other democracies were liberating Europe from Nazi tyranny, on the Eastern front, Nazi despotism was being driven back by Communist despotism. Caught between the totalitarian and genocidal empires of Hitler and Stalin, Ukrainians fought with valour and bravery against both occupiers. Victory over Nazi Germany brought neither peace nor freedom to Ukraine. Stalin’s war against the Ukrainians continued for several more years, as millions of Ukrainians continued to be executed, imprisoned, or deported to the Gulag, for their determination to live free. Though freedom and independence only came to Ukraine more than four decades after the end of World War II, those brave men and women who fought and died for Ukraine during and after that War inspired the generation that was finally able to return liberty to Ukraine.
Today, the sons and daughters of Ukraine are again forced to take up arms to defend themselves against brutal aggression – this time at the hands of Putin’s Russian Federation. With God’s help, the people of Ukraine will prevail.