Taipei, Aug. 27 (CNA) Ukrainians in Taiwan celebrated their country’s Independence Day at an event in Taipei on Saturday and drew a parallel between Ukraine’s struggle to re-establish independence after the Russian Civil War and the country’s plight in fighting Russia’s invasion.
As a result of losing the Russian Civil War, Ukraine went through decades of oppression during which its language and culture were “killed,” and Ukrainians were treated as if they had been inferior to Russians, Oleksandr Shyn, the event’s organizer, told CNA.
Many people may have the impression that Ukraine is a very young country, having achieved independence only 31 years ago on Aug. 24, 1991, Shyn said.
However, most Ukrainians view Independence Day as the day when they finally managed to restore, reclaim and continue their independence, he said, in reference to Ukraine’s declaration of independence in 1918.
Saying that the concept of Independence Day also suggests “resurrection,” Shyn drew a parallel between Ukraine’s struggle for independence and its ongoing war with Russia.
“This year’s Independence Day is especially important, because our country is once again resisting imperialist, aggressive, genocidal invaders, who are trying to take away our independence.”
He said that as Ukrainians try to physically fight off the Russian invasion, they are also fighting for their culture, language and identity.
“Events like this help us celebrate Ukrainian culture and to show to the world that Ukraine is not a ‘small Russia,’ the Ukrainian language is not a dialect of Russian, and the Ukrainian culture is not a derivation from Russian culture,” he said.
Asked what kind of support he would like to see from the international community, Shyn said his country needs more weapons, ammunition, and intelligence, as well as more sustenance to tackle a food crisis and poor living conditions.
“Losing [the war] is not an option. If we give up any part of our territory right now, in five to 10 years they will come for more,” he said.
Kateryna Leliukh, who arrived in Taiwan after obtaining a scholarship to help displaced Ukrainians pursue an education from Academia Sinica, said she hoped to spread more information about Ukraine, thereby rekindling public awareness of the situation in the country.
Many people believe that the Russian War in Ukraine broke out on Feb. 24 this year, but in fact it dates back to 2014 when the War in Donbas was started, she said.
When asked about her thoughts on parliamentary groups established by lawmakers in Taiwan and Ukraine to promote exchanges between the two sides, Leliukh said she welcomed such ties.
Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan and Ukraine had virtually no exchanges, but Taiwan has since made many donations to Ukraine, for which she is very thankful, she said.
At a time when all trade and cooperation between Ukraine and Russia have been cut, Ukraine has had no choice but to increase its trade with China to offset the loss in trade volume, she said, highlighting the need for Ukraine to have more exchanges with other countries.
Ukrainian participants at the event set up stalls to sell handmade Ukraine pastries and desserts, and all proceeds from the sales will be donated to designated Ukrainian non-profit organizations to help Ukrainians that have been affected by the war.
(By Sean Lin)
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