President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Olena Zelenska laid flowers at the Wall of Remembrance of the Fallen Defenders of Ukraine

KYIV-On Independence Day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady Olena Zelenska honored the memory of the defenders of our state fallen during the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The presidential couple laid flowers at the Wall of Remembrance near the St. Michael's Cathedral in Kyiv.

A company of honor guards was lined up and surma sounded. The memory of Ukrainian heroes was honored with a moment of silence.

Ukraine's Independence Day, which on today Wednesday August 24th, 2022 marked the 31st anniversary of when the country voted to break with the Soviet Union, has been a more somber affair this year, with officials attending memorials and issuing warnings that Moscow could carry out missile attacks against Ukrainian cities.

While previous years have been marked by celebrations and parades, Wednesday's commemoration comes exactly six months after Russia's invasion of the country began.

President Volodymyr Zelensky marked the day with an emotional address that spoke of the Russian invasion as a new independence day -- the day Ukraine had to fight for its freedom, rather than simply voting for it at the ballot box.

"A new nation emerged on February 24 at 4 a.m. Not born, but reborn. A nation that didn't cry, didn't scream, didn't get scared. Didn't run away. Didn't give up. Didn't forget.

"Every new day is a new reason not to give up. Because, having gone through so much, we have no right not to reach the end. What is the end of the war for us? We used to say: Peace. Now we say: Victory,"Zelensky said.

Across the country, Ukrainians paid tribute to those who have been killed in military action since the invasion began. Foreign leaders, such as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, also visited Kyiv.

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