On August 16, 1954, the Ukrainian Service of the US financed Radio Liberation (later Radio Liberty) made its first broadcast from Munich to Soviet-ruled Ukraine.   Here is the text of that message.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Ukrainians!

Today, for the first time, we address you over Radio Liberation. We live abroad, but our hearts and thoughts are with you always. No iron curtain can separate us or obstruct that. Today is a day of joy for us, for over the air our vibrant word of greeting, joy, and hope will reach you.

Over one million of us Ukrainians are living abroad. For a long time we have been telling people in the free world the truth about life in our country. The beginning Ukrainian broadcasts entrust us with a new task. We shall speak to you and for you, fellow countrymen, because there in our homeland you have neither freedom, nor democratic press, nor a free radio.

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Four Directors of RL's Ukrainian Service: Mykhailo Dobriansky (top), Anatol Kaminsky (bottom left), Bohdan Nahaylo (middle), Roman Kupchinsky (bottom right).

Wherever we may be. our paths all converge toward Kyiv and the towns and views of Ukraine… Kyivan Rus which became the cradle of our Ukrainian nation's existence was an important cultural center, the focus of ancient democratic freedoms in Eastern Europe. Through Kyiv, the “mother of Rus cities,” our culture spread to all corners of Eastern Europe. Later, in Khmelnytsky’s time [the 17th century], the Cossacks gave Ukraine glamor and might.

In the fire and storm of the Revolution of 1917, Ukraine was re-established as an independent state. Our people, longing to be masters of their own destiny in their own country proclaimed the Ukrainian Democratic Republic. That was done in a democratic way – the manifestation of the sovereign will of the Ukrainian nation. It took place in accordance with the principles of self-determination of peoples. But the Ukrainian Democratic Republic fell victim to Bolshevik aggression. To deceive the Ukrainian people, to persuade them that nothing had happened, the aggressors converted the Ukrainian Democratic Republic into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which the Communist dictatorship made an instrument of oppression of the Ukrainian people.

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Over the following decades, Radio Liberty's Ukrainian Service – based in Munch, and later, from the 1990s in Prague, with an office in Kyiv until this day – has played an important role in delivering timely and accurate information to Ukraine about domestic and external affairs and serving as a beacon of liberty.  We salute its staff from before and now, and express appreciation to the US for its continued support for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - RFE/RL.

In the struggle against Communism, our native land has made great sacrifices on the altar of liberation. But we have faith in God’s justice. We are convinced that those sacrifices were not made in vain and that God will reward Ukraine for all her sufferings. The struggle of the Ukrainian people will achieve their purpose.

And you, the Ukrainian people, “master in your house,” will take your seat in the “circle of free peoples.” The words of Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko the beloved Ukrainian national poet of the 19th century will come true: “And there will be a son, and there will be a mother, and there will be justice on earth.” Because “in our house there is truth, and strength, and the will for freedom.”

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