Around 1,500 soldiers and military hardware, including 49 military vehicles, marched down the main Khreshchatyk street of Kiev in the parade, as thousands of audience, wearing traditional Ukrainian costumes and holding national flags, watched the event.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in the ceremony that Ukraine may face a “military threat in foreseeable future,” pledging to allocate some 3 billion U.S. dollars to modernize the country’s army, so as to defend national independence.
“We need to learn not only to live with this, but also to be always prepared to defend the independence of our country,” Poroshenko said.
Present at the celebration were Ukrainian government officials, parliament members, foreign diplomats.
While the parade has been declared by the authorities as an event to “boost morale” of government soldiers fighting with independence-seeking insurgents in eastern Ukraine, critics denounced it as a waste of money in the war time.
Ukraine won independence from the Soviet Union on Aug. 24, 1991.