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14 Mär. 2024

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Ukraine celebrates Volunteer Day: history and significance of the holiday

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Der Weg zum Sieg
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Ukraine celebrates Volunteer Day: history and significance of the holiday

Every year, on March 14, Ukraine honors the brave men and women who stood up to defend the country at the call of their hearts. Find out more about volunteer formations in Ukraine, their contribution to the struggle for freedom and independence, and the symbolic meaning of this date

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Today, on March 14, Ukraine celebrates a relatively young but very important date - the Day of Ukrainian Volunteers, brave and strong people who stood up to defend their homeland at the call of their hearts.


Read more about the number of Ukrainian women participating in the war and what you need to know about their exploits here.


History of the holiday: when did Ukraine start celebrating Volunteer Day?


The date of the celebration in honor of volunteers was officially set by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on January 17, 2017.


"In order to honor the courage and heroism of the defenders of Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, to promote further strengthening of the patriotic spirit in society, to increase public attention and care for members of volunteer formations, and to support the initiative of the public," the Verkhovna Rada resolution reads.


This date was not chosen by chance, as it was on March 14, 2014, that the first volunteer soldiers went directly from Maidan to a training base in Novi Petrivtsi, near Kyiv. These people formed the First Volunteer Battalion, which later participated in the ATO. 


According to the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, almost 40 volunteer battalions took part in the battles of the 2014-2015 russian-Ukrainian war in eastern Ukraine. Most of them later turned into military units of the security forces.




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Who else but me: the importance of the volunteer movement in the modern history of Ukraine


Today, the contribution of the first wave of volunteers can hardly be overestimated. During the Revolution of Dignity and the first days of the russian invasion of Ukraine, thousands of people left their studies, jobs, businesses, and families to go to the Maidan to protest, and later, armed with weapons, were among the first to confront the armed russian army. This ultimately made it possible to stop the aggressor, mobilize forces in the rear, and arm the army.


A separate page of the volunteer movement is inextricably linked to the battles for Mariupol. Thus, in early May 2014, the fighters of the newly created Azov volunteer battalion, which was based on members of Automaidan and Patriot of Ukraine, fought several battles with russian sabotage groups on the outskirts of Mariupol. And on June 13, Azov fighters, with the support of the National Guard, the Dnipro-1 battalion and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, liberated Mariupol from the occupiers.


However, volunteer groups in Ukraine did not consist only of Ukrainians. Since 2014, Georgian and Chechen battalions have been an important part of the volunteer movement.


And after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of russia in 2022, the volunteer movement in Ukraine became even more powerful (in the first weeks alone, almost 100,000 volunteers joined the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces). And today, the volunteer units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces include thousands of Ukrainians and citizens from around the world who are fighting side by side against the russian invaders. 


Courage, dedication to national interests and sincere patriotism are what drove Ukrainian volunteers into battle 10 years ago, and what gives them the inspiration and strength to continue the fight today.


We bow down to everyone who is fighting for Ukraine's independence today, and to everyone who laid down their lives to protect the sovereignty and interests of the state. You are the pride and color of the Ukrainian nation. Honor and remembrance are the least we can do to thank you!


You can support Ukrainians and join the common Victory together with Visit Ukraine. Order merchandise on our website and become an ambassador of Ukraine in the world, and we will transfer part of the proceeds from your purchase to support those affected by the war. And if you want to get acquainted with Ukrainian history, culture and nature in person, we will help you organize a safe trip to Ukraine. For more details, please contact the hotline.


We remind you! Ukrainian writers and the military have been actively documenting the russian invasion since 2014. Read about the top books that tell about the real events that took place in Ukraine and will help you better understand today's war in our previous article.


Photo: anatoliycherkas/Depositphotos


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




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