For three months ending last year, Ukrainians braved long nights, bitter cold, and violent crackdowns by a government that refused to hear its own people. Snipers shot at them from rooftops, cutting down more than 100 people – protestors and police alike.
We will never forget those who lost their lives and raised their voices for freedom and dignity.
Ukrainians celebrate this weekend the first anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, when the EuroMaidan protestors stood up against injustice and sparked the birth of a new Ukraine.
I visited Kyiv in the aftermath of these protests, and I was inspired by the remarkable strength of the Ukrainian people.
I saw barricades made of mattresses and discarded chairs, burned tires stacked like firewood, and street lamps riddled with bullet holes. I paid my respects at the Rada, where photos of the fallen stood on display framed by crowns of thorns. And I placed roses and a candle on the Shrine of the Fallen on Institutska Street.
But what inspired me most was the Ukrainian people themselves, who are striving for a democratic and European future in the face of adversity and Russian aggression.
Today we are united with Ukraine in somber remembrance of the sacrifices made by the “heavenly hundred.” We also recognize the efforts of the people of Ukraine to make progress over this difficult year. From L’viv to Luhansk, from Chernivtsi to Sevastopol, Ukrainians are coming together to define their own future.
And finally, we join you in declaring, Slava Ukrayini. Glory to Ukraine.
America stands with you.