On the Day of the Ukrainian Volunteer, President Petro Poroshenko congratulated the Operations Battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine named after Hero of Ukraine, Major-General Serhiy Kulchytsky on the 5th anniversary.
The Head of State stressed that the battalion's personnel had passed a glorious path of battles, defending the Ukrainian state from the Russian aggressor. He noted that the fighters of the battalion were among the first to enter Sloviansk, having seized the separatist headquarters and the arsenal of weapons, they were involved in combat operations in Krasnyi Lyman, Bakhmut, Popasna, Debaltseve, Stanytsia Luhanska, Vuhlehirsk, Marinka, Avdiivka.
The President noted that 162 soldiers of the unit received state awards, 23 - posthumously. Among them - Hero of Ukraine General Kulchytsky, who, having appeared at the epicenter of events at the moment critical for the fate of the state, took the burden of responsibility for the formation of combat-capable units of the newly formed National Guard of Ukraine.
"The hard time demanded such people able to combine professional competence, combat experience, deep patriotism, devotion to oath, extraordinary personal courage," Petro Poroshenko emphasized. The attendees honored memory of the deceased heroes with a moment of silence.
The President stresses that five years ago, his immediate priority was the immediate revival of the army. "And now, when the Ukrainian army is among the top ten armies in the continent, its combat effectiveness is increasing day by day. Ukrainians can see this during military parades. And each day the enemy feels an increase in combat readiness through strengthening of our positions on the frontline," he said.
"There are reports of the army receiving new weapons, created at the Ukrainian defense enterprises, every week. We increase the monetary supply of our soldiers and officers. We are actively implementing NATO standards. We exchange useful experience with our partners. And today, our partners learn from our combat experience how to defend the land from the Russian invaders," he said.
He noted that former volunteer units were integrated into the Armed Forces, the National Guard, and other force units. They are very well trained and equipped.
The President also informed that he was now leaving for the frontline to visit one of these units.
"The state cares about the protection of the Ukrainian people. The state constantly increases combat readiness and combat power of the whole power unit. We will never repeat the mistakes of the past, because the weakening of the army has created grounds for aggression against Ukraine. And we will never forget the feat of volunteers. Because there is no measure of depth of our gratitude to those who were one of the first to fight and gave the whole Ukraine the most valuable - time. The first are always the bravest. Low bow to Ukrainian volunteers," the Head of State said.
The President also presented state awards to the military.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the Head of State together with Commander of the National Guard Yuri Allerov laid flowers to the memorial to the heroes who perished defending the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine.
The festive event was also attended by Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy, people's deputy Dmytro Yarosh, as well as veterans of volunteer battalions.
The President also got acquainted with the Museum of Volunteer Battalions that describes the history of volunteers from the Maidan's self-defense to the present day and left a note in the Book of Honorary Guests.