President of Ukraine

Ukrainians did not betray their independence, the world did not fail in supporting Ukraine – Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the award ceremony for servicemen in Hostomel

24 February 2024 - 14:37

Ukrainians did not betray their independence, the world did not fail in supporting Ukraine – Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the award ceremony for servicemen in Hostomel

On the second anniversary of the start of Russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with servicemen who took part in the defense of the Antonov Airport and presented state awards.

The event took place on the territory of the Antonov Airport near the town of Hostomel in Kyiv region. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium Alexander De Croo, and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau attended the ceremony.

"Today, we are in a symbolic place, in Hostomel. It was here that Putin wanted to win the battle for our capital, the battle for Kyiv – the key battle of that blitzkrieg he planned. And it was here that he suffered the first – and fundamental – defeat. When our soldiers destroyed the Russian killers' landing and didn't allow Russia to create its foothold here, the world saw the most important thing. It saw that any evil can be defeated, and Russian aggression is no exception," said the Head of State. According to him, when the world did not yet believe in Ukraine, Ukrainians proved that they could fight, resist, and will continue to do so.

"The unity of people can do more than any dictator. And courage, ordinary people's courage, can turn even those pages of history that seemed like they would never end. Ukrainians did not betray their independence. The world did not fail, did not make a mistake and supported Ukraine," said the President.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked all friends and partners of Ukraine for their support of our state and people, as well as Ukrainian soldiers and millions of ordinary people who joined in defending the country.

"And that's why despite all the difficulties and doubts, the world's attention is still focused on Ukraine. Our destiny depends only on us! And we can achieve our goals, the goals of peace, the goals of Ukrainians. And we are doing it. Russian madness will not prevail on our land, in our sea, in our sky," said the Head of State.

The President expressed confidence that all Russian killers, starting with President Putin, will be held accountable for what they have done in Ukraine.

"We will ensure justice for Ukraine. And thanks to our battle, the world will surely be convinced again that there is no one stronger than people who believe in themselves. This is one of the most important rules of life in the world – peoples must believe in themselves to not let anyone break their lives. I am proud of our people, proud of our Ukrainian nation! And may we all be worthy of those bravest people of ours who at different times fought for Ukraine, fought for freedom, and gave their lives so that Ukraine could live," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The attendees honored the memory of the fallen soldiers with a moment of silence.

The Head of State awarded the Order of the Golden Star to Hero of Ukraine, Master Sergeant Ihor Hryschenko, who has been participating in combat operations on the Kyiv front since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion and continues to defend the country on the South-Eastern front. On the front lines, Ihor Hryschenko professionally performs the functions of a navigator for the strike UAV complex, destroying enemy soldiers and equipment.

Captain Maksym Danylchuk, who performed combat missions in Donetsk and Kharkiv regions in 2022-2023, also received the highest state award. Thanks to his skillful leadership, Ukrainian defenders destroyed many Russian occupiers and enemy equipment. In particular, last February, the captain ensured the repulsion of numerous attacks by the Wagner PMC assault groups in Donetsk region.

Colonel Oleksandr Doleiko, an anti-aircraft missile operator, received the Order of the Golden Star from the President. Thanks to his skilled leadership, his unit destroyed a large number of enemy targets during air battles at the beginning of the Russian aggression, protecting Ukrainian servicemen and equipment from destruction. He was wounded in an enemy missile strike but continued to command and ensured the withdrawal of the division avoiding the enemy attack. After treatment, Oleksandr Doleiko returned to service.

The President also awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine and presented the Order to the grenade launcher of the National Guard, Senior Sergeant Illia Zheved, who showed courage and bravery in June 2022 by stopping the overwhelming forces of Russian occupiers in Donetsk region, contributing to the repulsion of the enemy's advance. In March, he fell into an ambush with his comrades, but in a difficult situation, Illia Zheved quickly organized defense and destroyed enemy armored vehicles and about ten occupiers. During enemy shelling, he managed to cover his wounded comrade with his body and himself sustained a gunshot wound to the hand. However, he continued to skillfully fire and enabled the evacuation of the wounded comrade.

The Head of State awarded the Golden Star to Hero of Ukraine, Captain of the Maritime Security Service of the State Border Guard Service Petro Melnyk. Under his leadership, the border unit performed tasks in Mariupol in the spring of 2022 amidst the absence of stable communication, constant enemy missile and artillery strikes, amid a humanitarian catastrophe, and in conditions of virtual encirclement. At the Mariupol Sea Commercial Port, a group of border guards under Petro Melnyk's command repelled several enemy advances. In mid-April 2022, the border guards relocated to the Azovstal plant. The captain personally participated in operations to evacuate the injured personnel by aviation.

The highest state award was also received by Hero of Ukraine, Senior Sergeant Denys Chubarev, commander of the mortar battery of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who repeatedly demonstrated in battles his ability to meticulously plan and build dense defense, which repels any aggression, allows resistance using 82-mm mortars for an extended period, prevents the penetration of sabotage and reconnaissance groups into the rear of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and systematically forces the enemy to retreat, often with losses.

Additionally, Volodymyr Zelenskyy awarded the President's insignia "Cross of Military Merit" to Lieutenant Colonel Oleh Dmytryshyn, Junior Sergeant Serhiy Dobko, Sergeant Olena Dubyna, and Soldier Dmytro Kovalskyi.

The President also awarded the defenders of Ukraine with the Orders of Bohdan Khmelnytsky II and III classes, "For Courage" II and III classes, and the " Personalized firearm" award.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal, Head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak, Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko, Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Maliuk, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Anatoliy Barhylevych, Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Pavliuk, and Chief of Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov were present at the event.