Nebesna Sotnia Heroes: the ultimate sacrifice for freedom
Seven years ago, the world witnessed the Ukrainian people stand up to defend their freedom and dignity in the face of a Russian-controlled oppressive kleptocracy that ruled their country. The murder of peaceful protesters by government controlled forces on the streets of central Kyiv on February 18, 19 and 20th of 2014, was a turning point in Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity. The bravery and valor of the protestors who were unwilling to back down despite the use of lethal force against them compelled Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovych to flee Ukraine into the protective bosom of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin where he remains in hiding to this day.
When Russia’s rulers realized they could no longer control Ukraine, they launched a military invasion, which resulted in the illegal occupation and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula as well as the occupation and ongoing military conflict in eastern Ukraine. This Russian-led war in continental Europe continues to this day. Since 2014, Russia is solely responsible for over 20,000 deaths in Ukraine, countless wounded, the tragic downing of civilian airliner MH17 resulting in almost 300 dead, 1.5 million internally displaced people, and the violation of countless international laws and treaties. We demand that Russia’s President, its leadership and their enablers be held accountable for these crimes and be brought to justice.
Today, Ukrainians and friends of Ukraine around the world honour the memory of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred also known as the Nebesna Sotnia. The sacrifices of the Heavenly Hundred and the bravery of the peaceful protestors during the Revolution of Dignity have earned them a heroic place in the history of Ukraine’s long struggle for independence, alongside the heroes of the Battle of Kruty, the freedom fighters of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, the political dissidents of the sixties and seventies, and the brave women and men of Ukraine’s armed forces who for the past seven years have defended their homes and families from Russia’s continued military aggression.
Year after year, we remind the world of the principles and values which the Ukrainian people paid and continue to pay for with their lives: dignity, democracy, equality, and rule of law. The Revolution of Dignity, a key event in the history of modern Ukrainian statehood, has been recognized throughout the world as an expression of the ideal of national freedom. Today, Ukraine is a beacon of democracy in its region. It is a model for the peoples of Belarus and Russia, who today are fighting for their right to self-determination against autocratic rulers.
“In 2014, Ukrainian’s around the world rallied the international community to support the people of Ukraine in their struggle for dignity. Today we continue to build international support for Ukraine as her citizens defend against Russia’s ongoing military conflict and illegal occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. The Russian-led disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting the Revolution of Dignity and undermining Ukraine’s future prosperity will not succeed. We will always remember the ultimate sacrifice made by The Heavenly Hundred who were murdered on the streets of Kyiv during the Revolution of Dignity by the Russian-controlled President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych and his henchmen. These Heroes and the millions of peaceful protestors will forever be remembered for their ultimate sacrifice in standing up to a modern-day dictator in defence of freedom and dignity of the Ukrainian people,” stated UWC President Paul Grod.