Celebrations in Luhansk in 2013. The city has since been invaded and occupied by Russia.
It’s a bit of an ironic holiday when huge swathes of southern and eastern Ukraine are currently occupied by the Russians and their enormous military, but today is Ukrainian Independence Day.
Vladimir Putin can’t live forever, so maybe there’s hope for the future. If only Kremlin propaganda wouldn’t live on after him…
Today is the tenth anniversary of the Russian invasion of Georgia. Russia still occupies parts of the country, and landowners on the fake new borders report having more of their property stolen every day – it’s a slow motion invasion the world has completely forgotten about.
As with Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, ethnic cleansing is taking place in occupied Georgia, and the Russians are destroying all evidence of local people’s culture and history. Historic buildings are being torn down. (A Crimean Tatar set himself on fire in protest the other day – on camera; nobody in the world reported it.)
Georgia was Putin’s test run for his invasion of Ukraine. Taking place just after Obama came to power, he learnt that world leaders wouldn’t act on Russian aggression.
Even though it’s not really needed for diplomatic purposes, Georgia maintains an embassy here in Canberra, to remind people in the South Pacific why they shouldn’t be doing trade with the Kremlin (Fiji and New Zealand, I’m looking at you!).
Today marks four years since the Russian military shot down passenger plane MH17 over the warzone in Ukraine.
Above is the service we held for ambassadors and politicians at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canberra in 2014 (twenty-seven Australians were killed in the disaster). In the first picture ambassadors and other embassy representatives from countries including the Netherlands, Malaysia, and the United States can be seen on the left.
The second is a cross surrounded by 298 candles – one for each victim of the attack.
A memorial to the dead I photographed in 2016.
Today is the fourth anniversary of the end of Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution. On the 20th of February, 2014 pro-Russian snipers took to the streets and shot and killed as many civilians as they could manage.
Snipers in the same spot the memorials are now.
The revolution resulted in overthrowing the corrupt, dictatorial oligarch in charge of the country, but he fled to Russia and paved the way for Putin’s invasion shortly afterwards.
Another year of Russian aggression, and another year our Christmas cards to relatives cannot reach the warzone where Russia is still invading Ukraine (not that it makes the news anymore!).
I can’t even begin to explain how angry I am with everyone declaring 2016 the “Worst Year Ever” just because of Brexit and Trump. There’re TWO MILLION Ukrainian refugees (while countries like Germany – European countries – take in so many Middle Eastern refugees, they will not help Ukrainians).
Several of my Ukrainian family members have died since Putin invaded, but nobody could care less about Russian aggression until it was Britain and America who suffered.
Personally, I think of 2016 as the year of selfishness. It’s only the “Worst” year if you usually just watch reality TV.
Happy Ukrainian Independence Day. Sort of an ironic day to commemorate now…