On the Day of Defenders of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy presented high state awards to Ukrainian servicemen, honorary titles, insignia and battle flags to military units, and took part in the oath taking by students of military lyceums.
The ceremony took place on the territory of the National Historical and Architectural Museum "Kyiv Fortress" in the presence of the military and political leadership of the state and foreign diplomats.
"Today, on a special day, we have a special mission. A mission of gratitude. A mission of loyalty. The ceremony of presenting state awards of Ukraine to those who distinguished themselves in its defense. And the solemn oath of our military lyceum students, who have yet to gain the respect of the Ukrainian people. Respect that has to be earned. But it will be absolute when you earn it with dignity," the Head of State said.
The President noted that 585 days of the full-scale Russian war and eight years of hybrid warfare claimed many brave Ukrainian lives.
"All of them have become the life of Ukraine. And we are obliged to all of them. We must guarantee freedom for our country," he emphasized.
The attendees observed a minute of silence in memory of all those who sacrificed their lives for Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy handed over the Golden Star Order to the family of Lieutenant Colonel Vasyl Bohach, who was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia, the Lieutenant Colonel remained in Mariupol, personally participating in the destruction and capture of Russian soldiers. As a result of one of the enemy air strikes on the city, he sustained numerous shrapnel wounds. He died in early May 2022 in a hospital at Azovstal after the hospital was hit by a super heavy bomb.
Sergeant Ihor Kolesnichenko's family received from the President the highest state award, which was posthumously presented to him. Last May, near Novoluhanske in Donetsk region, at an observation post, the sergeant ensured the destruction of the enemy and then led the personnel out of the encirclement to more advantageous positions. He died, covering his brother-in-arms with his body during an enemy shelling.
The President also presented the Golden Star Order to the family of the deceased pilot, Hero of Ukraine Major Danylo Murashko, who had performed 141 combat missions from the first days of the war until January 2023. He destroyed a lot of armored vehicles, manpower and aggressor's depots. His aircraft was shot down by an enemy fighter jet. Danylo Murashko tried to move his aircraft away from residential buildings to the last, which is why he was unable to eject safely and died heroically.
The title of Hero of Ukraine was also posthumously awarded to Master Sergeant Maksym Stryzhak, who, in January 2023, bravely held back the offensive of Russian troops in the Bakhmut area with his brothers-in-arms. He was killed on January 15 in a battle with the enemy who was storming the city.
The Order was also presented to the family of the fallen Hero of Ukraine, Senior Lieutenant Vladyslav Skvortsov, who distinguished himself at the beginning of the war during the battles for Okhtyrka and the liberation of Trostyanets. In April 2022, he organized the evacuation of the wounded in Kharkiv region. While providing fire cover for the unit, he sustained a fatal wound.
The parents of the mortar battery commander, Senior Lieutenant Andriy Soroka, who distinguished himself last summer in the fighting near Maryinka, Donetsk region, also received the Golden Star Order. He heroically carried a seriously wounded brother-in-arms off the battlefield.
Oleksandr Fedorchenko, Chief Sergeant of the fire support company, was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine. In January 2023, thanks to his actions, more than 60 wounded servicemen were evacuated in a timely manner. In March, his crew came under mortar fire in Donetsk region, and Oleksandr Fedorchenko was fatally wounded.
The order was also given to the family of military medic Yevhen Khrapko, who served as a volunteer in the ATO area in Donbas since 2014 and in the Armed Forces of Ukraine since 2016. After the full-scale invasion of Russia, he defended Kharkiv and participated in the liberation of settlements in Kharkiv region, saving the lives of many servicemen. In June 2022, Yevhen's car with the crew hit a mine, and he was killed in the explosion.
The Head of State also presented the Golden Star Order to the Hero of Ukraine, army aviation pilot Major Oleksiy Hrebenshchykov, who has been selflessly defending Ukraine since the first days of the war. In March last year, in extremely difficult conditions, he performed a mission to help the defenders of Mariupol. In October 2022 - January 2023, he planned operations during the liberation of Mykolaiv region and the right-bank part of Kherson region.
Also, the highest state award was presented to Lieutenant Colonel Semen Kukharenko, who defended the settlements of Donetsk region, including Bakhmut, in the spring and summer of 2023. Thanks to the successful aerial reconnaissance of the combined group and the work of the group of kamikaze drone operators, a lot of enemy manpower and equipment was destroyed.
Lieutenant Colonel Oleksandr Marchuk, who stormed the positions of Russian troops in Zaporizhzhia region with his subordinates in July this year, was also awarded the Golden Star Order by the President. Having suffered a barotrauma, he continued to skillfully lead the unit and led the personnel through the mined area without casualties.
Lieutenant Colonel Kyrylo Peretyatko was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine with the Golden Star Order. Under his leadership, 65 enemy air targets were destroyed between July and August 2023.
Captain Ihor Kharchenko, a Hero of Ukraine, an army aviation pilot who performed 107 combat missions during the repulsion of the large-scale Russian invasion, also received the order from the President. In March, he took part in the operation to help the defenders of Mariupol.
The Golden Star Order was also awarded to Senior Lieutenant Serhiy Kharchenko, who from the first days of the war, as part of a battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine, killed many Russian occupiers. He was seriously wounded but continued his service. During the battle, which lasted more than 10 hours, he skillfully adjusted the fire of artillery, which resulted in the destruction of almost 100 occupiers and about 20 units of armored vehicles.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also presented the Presidential Cross of Military Merit to four servicemen.
The Head of State handed over the Orders of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi I-III class, "For Courage" III class, the Orders of Merit III class, and the Order of Danylo Halytskyi to the Ukrainian defenders.
In addition, the President presented battle flags to the 47th separate mechanized brigade of the Ground Forces, the 1st separate special purposes brigade of the 9th army corps of the Ground Forces, the 37th separate marine brigade of the Marine Corps Command of the Ukrainian Navy, the 65th separate coastal missile division of the 360th separate coastal missile brigade of the Navy, the 130th separate territorial defense battalion of the 241st separate territorial defense brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Ribbons of the Presidential award "For Courage and Bravery" were presented to the 201st Hetman Pylyp Orlyk anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Air Force, the 24th separate assault battalion "Aidar" of the 5th separate assault brigade of the Ground Forces, the 21st separate brigade for the protection of public order named after Petro Kalnyshevskyi of the National Guard of Ukraine, the 24th border guard detachment named after Hero of Ukraine Senior Lieutenant Vyacheslav Semenov of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, and the Center of Special Operations “A” of the Security Service of Ukraine.
Also, the ribbons of honorary names were given to the 5th separate assault brigade of the Ground Forces (honorary name "Kyiv"), the 22nd separate brigade for the protection of diplomatic missions and consular institutions of foreign states (honorary name "Kyivan Rus") of the National Guard of Ukraine, and the 131st separate reconnaissance battalion of the Ground Forces (honorary name "named after Colonel Yevhen Konovalets").
With the participation of the President, the students of military lyceums took the oath of a lyceum student. It was read out by Vice Sergeant of Ivan Bohun Kyiv Military Lyceum Kostiantyn Nikiforov.
The oath was taken by students of Ivan Bohun Military Lyceum of Kyiv, the Military Lyceum of Hetman Petro Sahaidachnyi National Ground Forces Academy, the Naval Lyceum, I. Kharytonenko Cadet Corps State Boarding Lyceum with enhanced military and physical training of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Yaroslav Kondratiev Law Lyceum of the National Academy of Internal Affairs.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy congratulated them on this important event.