Memory 12:35 26 Jul 2023

How Ukrainians honor the memory of fallen defenders

No one knows how many defenders have already died for Ukrainian independence. However, no matter what this number is, there is a huge pain behind it. Ukrainians choose daily to cherish their heroes' memory, honor them, and be grateful for their sacrifice. Rubryka learned about how Ukrainians honor their fallen soldiers.

What is the problem?

Воїни ЗСУ щоденно відстоюють суверенітет і територіальну цілісність нашої держави. Завдяки їм Україна не просто вистояла перед російською навалою, а і стала для всього світу символом незламності та боротьби за свободу. Однак, незалежність дається нам високою ціною. Захисники та захисниці віддають за Батьківщину найдорожче — власне життя.

What is the solution?

Пам'ять народу — це те, що забезпечує його єдність. Вшанування пам'яті про загиблих воїнів — це наша вдячність за те, що ми можемо жити, працювати й любити. Це зв'язок із тими, хто вже не зможе побачити нашу перемогу.

National memorials

Биківнянські могили, Київ

Ukrainian heroes who died fighting for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity will be buried at the National Military Memorial Cemetery

On May 3, the Ukrainian parliament supported Law 9240 on placing the National Military Memorial Cemetery in Bykivnya, one of Kyiv's districts. The national complex is a nature reserve located at the exit from Kyiv on the Brovarsky highway. This is a place of memory where the victims of Stalinist repressions are buried. Now a place of honor will be created here for the soldiers who died due to the war with Russia.

It is planned to create a military cemetery, a museum complex, a ritual building, and other facilities for honor burials. The National Military Memorial Cemetery's first part will open at the end of autumn 2023. Ukrainian heroes who died fighting for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity will be buried at the National Military Memorial Cemetery. There will also be reburials of heroes of Russia's war against Ukraine, starting in 2014.

Аскольдова Могила, Київ

Askold's Grave should become a place for honorable burials and memorials to commemorate prominent historical figures of Ukraine

Askold's Grave is one of Kyiv's most famous historical places, where soldiers and other prominent personalities were buried. In March 2022, paramedic Alina Mykhaylova approached the President of Ukraine with a proposal to create the National Pantheon of Heroes of Ukraine on the territory of Askold's Grave Park in Kyiv. Mykhaylova was the fiancee of the fallen Hero of Ukraine, Dmytro Kotsiubailo (Da Vinci). He is also buried at Askold's grave.

As stated in the petition, the pantheon should become a sacred place of memory and consolidation of the Ukrainian people. Honorable burials should be held there, and memorials should be erected to commemorate prominent historical figures of Ukraine. Among them are the leaders of national liberation struggles of all times, military commanders, and outstanding personalities who performed heroic deeds in the fight for Ukraine's independence.

The petition received the necessary 25,000 votes in less than two days. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky supported the appeal. The initiative is already being developed by Ukraine's Ministry of Culture and Information Policy.

Азовсталь. Фото Дмитра Козацького

Thanks to the feat of Azovstal defenders, other Ukrainian cities managed to withstand Russia's invasion in 2022. Photo: Dmytro Kozatskyi with callsign "Orest"

The defense of Mariupol and Azovsta, 86 days of resistance and indomitability, which the whole world learned about, was the most heroic confrontation of the Ukrainian military against the overwhelming forces of the Russian invaders. Thanks to the courage of the defenders of Azovstal, other Ukrainian cities were able to withstand Russia's invasion in 2022.

The families of the fallen defenders of Mariupol and the Azov Patronage Service call on Ukrainians to support the project of creating a memorial complex for the Azov regiment on the Spivoche Pole in Kyiv. The corresponding petition was registered on May 3 by Vera Lytvynenko, the mother of the fallen soldier Vladyslav with the call sign Vektor.

The author of the petition notes: the memory of several hundred soldiers who defended Mariupol in complete surroundings and gave their lives for the fate of Ukraine should be honored in a way worthy of their feat. She and the relatives of the fallen Azov soldiers proposed to create a Memorial or a Wall of Remembrance of state importance, and they decided to bury the defenders of Mariupol together with other fighters at the national military cemetery.

People's memorials

Small memorials, which people create without any support from the authorities, are as important as memorials of national importance.

Як українці вшановують пам'ять полеглих захисників

In memory of the fallen heroes in Lilac Park, the people of Kherson built a memorial to the soldiers of the Kherson Territorial Defense

This cross stands in Kherson, in Lilac Park. On March 1, 2022, the soldiers of the Territorial Defense Forces met the occupiers here. Four dozen people from Kherson, armed only with assault rifles and Molotov cocktails, tried to stop a tank column of Russian troops and were shot by the Russian invaders with heavy equipment. Later, a video from the spot appeared. Among the trees felled by fire from large-caliber weapons lay the bodies of the Territorial Defense soldiers. Then, in an unequal battle, about 30 defenders died.

In memory of the fallen heroes in Lilac Park, the people of Kherson built a memorial to the soldiers of the Kherson Territorial Defense, who bravely defended their hometown.

Як українці вшановують пам'ять полеглих захисників

The Flag of Memory space was created in Zaporizhzhia on the initiative of veteran with the callsign "Designer"

In Zaporizhzhia, the wives of fallen servicemen created the Flag of Memory space. The initiator participated in the "Darling, I Live!" project. At the project meeting, she suggested setting up flags to honor the memory of the soldiers who died for Ukraine.

The location of the memory spot is not accidental. It will become the foundation of the future monument to fallen heroes in the Russian-Ukrainian war, which will later be erected at this place. The project of the memorial was approved before the start of the full-scale war, and a veteran with the callsign Designer created the design. Thus he wanted to honor the memory of his fallen comrades.

The Flag of Memory campaign is open-ended and will continue until the monument is installed on Volya Square in Zaporizhzhia.

Як українці вшановують пам'ять полеглих захисників

In June 2022, the relatives of the Azov regiment soldiers initiated the memorial on Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square in Kyiv

On Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square in Kyiv, there is a space with flags that honor fallen soldiers. The first 55 flags with the names of the defenders who defended Mariupol were installed here in June 2022 by the relatives of the soldiers of the Azov regiment. Over time, the number of flags has increased significantly, and there are already hundreds of them. In addition to blue and yellow, there are red and black, as well as flags of other countries with the names of foreigners who died in the war for the independence of Ukraine.

This people's memorial has no name. Remembering the dead, flowers are placed here, and lamps are placed on the curbs. The blue and yellow waving every day reminds all Kyiv residents and guests of the capital at what price freedom comes to Ukraine.

Renaming of streets

Роман Ратушний

Roman Ratushnyi was a young Kyivan, public activist, and defender of Ukraine, who was killed in Ukraine's east in June 2022

As part of de-Russification in Ukraine, streets, alleys, and squares are being actively renamed, the names of which are associated with Russia and the Soviet past. Some of them now bear the names of fallen defenders of Ukraine. Thus, a street of Roman Ratushnyi, a young Kyivan, public activist, and defender of Ukraine, who was killed in Ukraine's east in June 2022, appeared in Kyiv.

At the age of 15, Ratushnyi participated in Ukraine's Revolution of Dignity and was among those who suffered from the Berkut special police force attack on the night of November 30, 2013, when the units violently dispersed protesters during the Euromaidan protest movement. In 2018, he led the fight to preserve the green zone in Protasiv Yar in the center of Kyiv. From the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia, he joined the army to defend Ukraine. Ratushnyi died on June 9 in the Izyum area of Ukraine's east. According to the NGO Protasiv Yar, he was on reconnaissance as part of a combat group and died while performing a combat mission.

Як українці вшановують пам'ять полеглих захисників

One of Kyiv's streets was renamed to honor the fallen soldier and journalist Oleksandr Makhov

In October 2022, Zholudeva Street in Kyiv's Sviatoshyn district was renamed to honor a fallen soldier and journalist Oleksandr Makhov who used to work on the channels Ukraine and Ukraine 24. Makhov was a serviceman of the 95th Airmobile Battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. A 36-year-old servicemember died near Izyum on May 4 in a battle with the Russian invaders.

Dmytro "Da Vinci" Kotsyubailo Street may soon appear in Kyiv. People's Artist of Ukraine Ada Rogovtseva created a corresponding petition about renaming Nimanska Street in honor of the soldier. The petition is already under review — it gained almost 12,000 votes of the required 6,000 on the first day. Hero of Ukraine Dmytro Kotsyubailo died on March 7 near Bakhmut. He fought against the Russian occupiers since 2014.

Як українці вшановують пам'ять полеглих захисниківSome streets were given collective names to honor those who gave their lives for the sake of Ukraine's independence

Local petitions and public initiatives are also effective tools. In April, in the Bolekhiv community, in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, a decision was made to posthumously honor the memory of the fallen compatriots by renaming some streets after them. Ivan Vasylechko, who defended Ukraine in the Donetsk region and was the commander of the mountain-assault detachment of the mountain-assault platoon of the mountain-assault company, will be honored by a street of his name. In January 2022, he died of wounds in the hospital where his comrades took him after the battle in the Bakhmut district.

Heroes of Azov and Heroes of Border Guards Squares, Volonterska, and Heroes of the Police streets are new names of Cherkasy locations. At Cherkasy residents' initiative, collective names were given to streets and squares to honor those who died in the Russian-Ukrainian war. Ten streets in Cherkasy have been renamed in honor of fallen heroes since the beginning of the war. One of them is Pavlo Sobko Alley, which used to be named after the Soviet general Puteyko. Cherkasy volunteer, soldier Pavlo Sobko died in April 2022 in the battles for Popasna in Ukraine's east. "He was a man who sacrificed everything for the sake of others," say those who knew him. Now his name is immortalized in one of the streets of the city.

Memorial alleys

Як українці вшановують пам'ять полеглих захисників

Alley of Fighters for Independence was created in Bucha

To celebrate the anniversary of the liberation of Bucha from the Russian invaders, the Alley of Fighters for Independence was opened in the city. It was placed on Heroes of Maidan Street, near Kyiv Square.

Serhiy Shepetko, deputy mayor of Bucha, noted: "We remember every Bucha resident… son, husband, father who gave his life for our peace and our country. Unlimited respect and honor for each of them. Glory to the heroes!"

Як українці вшановують пам'ять полеглих захисників

Locals plant an avenue of magnolias, Lviv region

In Zhovkva in the Lviv region, in the city park, residents planted an avenue of magnolias dedicated to all defenders who gave their lives for Ukraine. Together with the organizers of the action, the families of the fallen heroes also planted trees. People are sure: the planted magnolias will be a reminder of what Ukrainian defenders fight and give their lives for.


Як українці вшановують пам'ять полеглих захисників

A mural was dedicated to Oleksandr Matsievsky in Kyiv

On one of the administrative buildings of the Ukrainian parliament, a mural dedicated to the memory of Ukrainians who died during the war was created. The mural's author was the French artist Christian Guémy, known under the pseudonym C215. The idea of creating a wall painting arose during the visit of the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation to France.

The mural depicts the Hero of Ukraine, Oleksandr Matsievskyi, whom the Russian occupiers shot for saying, "Glory to Ukraine!". Oleksandr was a sniper of the 163rd battalion of the 119th separate brigade of the territorial defense of the Chernihiv region. He had been called up for service in March 2022, and since the end of December, he had been considered missing. According to Ukraine's security service, he was shot in December, and the dead soldier's body was returned home in February 2023.

Як українці вшановують пам'ять полеглих захисників

Mural in honor of Yehor Birkun was created in Kryvyi Rih

A mural was created in Kryvyi Rih in honor of the fallen soldier of the Azov regiment Yehor Birkun who died in Mariupol. He was mortally wounded while helping his comrade, who came under enemy fire. The defender was 24 years old.

The decision to create a mural honoring a heroic compatriot belongs to the Kryvyi Rih non-governmental organization Centuria. Money for the paint was collected by those who cared, including the military.

Even more useful solutions!

Even those who do not wear a military uniform give their lives for the future of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Volunteer Service, in partnership with the memorial platform "Memorial," created the Ukrainian Volunteers Killed by Russia platform with the stories of activists and volunteers who died during the full-scale invasion of Russia. In this way, the project's authors want to remind the world about the crimes committed by the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine.

The head of the Ukrainian Volunteer Service, Anna Bondarenko, emphasizes: "Every dead person is a deep pain for all of Ukraine. Behind each statistical number are real people with their dreams and plans, past and loved ones who are doomed to experience a terrible loss. No name can be forgotten!".


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