President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in the celebrations on the occasion of the Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, presented state awards and conferred honorary titles on military units.
Warriors of the Honor Guard, flag-bearing groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine lined up in the square in front of the main entrance to the Mariyinsky Palace.
The National Anthem of Ukraine was performed by a military orchestra and the State Flag of Ukraine was raised.
After the anthem, a video was broadcast from the ceremony of raising the flag of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the General Staff, flags at the command centers of the Armed Forces in Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Odesa and some branches of the Armed Forces in Zhytomyr and Berdychiv.
The President of Ukraine greeted the military personnel. He noted that Ukrainian warriors serve regardless of weekends and holidays, at any time of year and in any weather.
"You always defend Ukraine. So, both Ukraine and all our people will always remember your feat, feel your protection and bow to your strength. Every day. And especially today - on your holiday, on the Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine! And, of course, we will remember all the sons and daughters of Ukraine who gave their lives for the sake of our future and protection of the country from the Russian aggressor," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The Head of State declared a moment of silence for the deceased.
The President stressed that a strong and capable army is a guarantee of freedom and independence of Ukraine. And gaining NATO's Enhanced Opportunities Partner status proves that the Ukrainian army reform is moving in the right direction.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also stressed that defense funding will not be reduced even by a single hryvnia, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine will receive the latest and modernized weapons and equipment.
"We will never cut corners on our own army, and therefore on the security of our own country," the President said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also noted that the constant priority is the social protection of the military and their families, in particular the provision of housing. According to the Head of State, on the Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, servicemen will receive about 300 apartments. And in total the issue of housing has been completely solved for more than 600 servicemen this year.
"We are building the army where the state protects the people who defend the state. The army that will defend Ukraine on land, at sea, in the sky and cyberspace. For the sake of our future. For the sake of peace in Ukraine," Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.
The Head of State also reminded that today is the 133rd day of the ceasefire in Donbas, the longest truce since the beginning of the war. During the silence regime, the occasions of shelling decreased fivefold, and combat losses among the military were reduced 10 times. He noted that this was made possible by the Ukrainian military.
"It is thanks to your endurance, resilience and wisdom that the silence in the east has not only been declared, not only been enshrined in diplomatic documents, but also has really lasted for more than four months. Thank you for not giving in to provocations. For understanding why this is so important. For showing the whole world how much Ukraine and its army do to end the war," the President said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed hope that next time the silence in Donbas will be broken only by fireworks, which Ukraine will use to celebrate the return of peace to the entire territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
"I congratulate each of you on this holiday! I wish you and your families good health. May God protect each of you. Always come back alive,” the Head of State said.