On the Day of Ukrainian Statehood, which Ukraine celebrates today for the first time, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy handed out the first passports to citizens of Ukraine who turned 14 years old.
The ceremony took place in the Mariyinsky Palace. Among its participants are children of servicemen who defend the state, children of heroes who gave their lives in battles for Ukraine, and young citizens who were forced to leave their homes due to Russian aggression.
As the Head of State noted, he is particularly pleased to hand over Ukrainian passports to teenagers in the presence of one of our country's greatest European friends - President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda, who visited Ukraine on the occasion of the Day of Ukrainian Statehood.
"This passport - the passport of a citizen of Ukraine, which you are receiving today - symbolizes strength. It is known and respected in all countries of the world, even where they do not have the freedom to talk about it openly," Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized during the presentation of the documents.
The President reminded that Ukraine experienced different periods in its more than thousand-year history - ups and downs, victories and losses, heroism and peace.
"But there was no period when we lost our national strength - our Ukrainian love for freedom, our special sense of independence and our firmness - all that is fully manifested right now, when we are fighting for the future for Ukraine, for the future for all of you," he said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy is convinced that young Ukrainians will be able to feel respect for themselves and their passports many times more, and called on them to do everything to increase that respect.
"I am sure you will be able to feel this respect. And please do everything to ensure that Ukraine's strength and respect for Ukraine only increase," the Head of State summed up and wished all the children success.