This is the tenth year in a row when celebrations for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has seen service members involved in waging their war in Ukraine against Russian aggression and the second since Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began.

Today is day 651 since the start of Russia’s so-called “special military operation” on Feb. 24, 2022, at which time the Kremlin thought it would capture Ukraine’s capital in 3 or 4 days - yet still it stands free.

This is actually day 3,577 since Moscow began its attacks on Ukraine. It was Feb. 20, 2014, when the Russian military began seizing Ukrainian territory as it illegally began to annex the Crimean Peninsula.

Every year on Dec. 6, Ukrainians celebrate the Day of the AFU, which was established as a holiday in 1993 by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s national parliament). This holiday honors Ukrainian soldiers, its sons and daughters, for true courage, dedication and heroism, with great pride and respect. The holiday celebrates its service members defending Ukraine today and remembers the fallen who have given their all.

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Last year, President Volodymyr Zelensky went to the front lines in Donbas to award medals for heroism and to celebrate with warriors defending Ukraine from the full-scale invasion by Russia. At the time of publication, the President’s Office has not announced his plan for celebrating this year, but it is likely to be something similar.

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The AFU service is made up of various branches including the Ground Forces, the Air Force, the Navy, the Air Assault Forces, the Marine Corps, the Special Operations Forces, and the Territorial Defense Forces. While there are various days set aside to honor the separate branches and specialties, today is the day for all members of the AFU.

The AFU was formally established on Dec. 6, 1991 with the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On the Armed Forces of Ukraine”. Ukraine had declared its independence from the Soviet Union on Aug. 24 of that year.

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Patriotic love of the country and gratitude toward its defenders have been widely expressed, especially since the Revolution of Dignity, which began in November 2013, by the cry “Slava Ukraini!” – answered by the reply “Heroyam Slava!”

“Glory to Ukraine!”

“Glory to the Heroes!”

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