On Sunday, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in events on the occasion of the Day of the Border Guard of Ukraine and presented state awards.
"It is an honor for me to congratulate you today on your professional holiday, on the Day of the Border Guard of Ukraine, the iron and unbreakable border guard of Ukraine. Assessing how strongly you defend our state, we can only thank you, heroes, border guards," the Head of State said, addressing the attendees.
The President noted the strength with which the border guard troops are defending Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Maryinka, other towns and villages of Donbas in the fiercest battles, and the resolve with which the border guards in the ranks of the Ukrainian Defense Forces liberated Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson and northern regions of Ukraine from the occupier.
"Thank you for your strong faith - in our country, in Ukraine - with which you destroyed the Russian occupier in fierce battles in 2014 and when the aggressor's full-scale invasion began," he said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy reminded that during the defense against Russian aggression, 2193 border guards have already been awarded state awards, 11 of them – the title of Hero of Ukraine.
"Each such award is a story of our warrior's personal feat and the story of the salvation of our entire country, the whole of Ukraine. Because Ukraine's independence is not some kind of abstraction, but a very concrete result that everyone who fights for Ukraine achieves for it. Unfortunately, at the cost of their own lives," he emphasized.
The President emphasized that 11 border guards had been awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine, 9 of whom were posthumously awarded this highest title. In particular, these are Senior Lieutenant Vyacheslav Semenov, Major Heorhii Strelkov, Lieutenant Colonel Ihor Dashko, Colonel Roman Hakh, Colonel Vitalii Kucheriavyi, Colonel Yevhenii Pikus, Colonel Yurii Yurchyk, and Major General Ihor Momot.
The Head of State emphasized that Ukraine will always remember them and all other Ukrainian warriors who gave their lives for the sake of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
The attendees honored the memory of each fallen Ukrainian warrior with a moment of silence.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that the key battles of this war are ahead.
"We must liberate our land and our people from Russian captivity. We must restore the full line of our state border, both on land and at sea," he said.
The President expressed confidence that the heroism, reliability and resilience of the border guard troops will help Ukraine on this important historical path.
"I wish the “Stalevyi Kordon” assault brigade and all our border guard units unflagging strength and good luck in battle! I wish every commander to inspire his subordinates with examples of his own courage. And I wish all Ukrainian warriors to return with victory!" Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The President of Ukraine presented the border guards with state awards: the Order "For Courage" of the III degree, medals "For Military Service to Ukraine", "For Impeccable Service" of the III degree, and "To the Defender of the Homeland".
The Head of State also conferred military ranks and presented the shoulder marks of Major General to the Head of the Eastern Regional Directorate of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Valerii Vavryniuk, shoulder marks of Brigadier General to the First Deputy Head of the Southern Regional Directorate of the SBGSU - Chief of Staff Oleksandr Rybak, shoulder marks of Brigadier General of the Medical Service to the Head of the Healthcare Department of the SBGSU Administration Mykhailo Karnaukh.
In addition, the Head of State presented ribbons of honor "For Courage and Bravery" to five border guard detachments of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.
At the end of the ceremony, Volodymyr Zelenskyy observed modern samples of special military equipment and weapons of the Ukrainian border guards.