Ukrainian Independence Day Celebrated in Binghamton

Published 08/25 2014 04:15PM

Updated 08/25 2014 06:04PM

With violence rocking Eastern Ukraine, the annual Ukrainian Independence Day celebration outside Binghamton City Hall took on added significance on Monday.

Members of the local Ukrainian-American community gathered for prayers, poetry and speeches to mark the 23rd anniversary of Ukraine becoming independent from the Soviet Union in 1991.

But with war raging between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, local Ukrainian-Americans are worried once again about Russian influence in the region since protesters took to the streets last fall to demand the ouster of the former pro-Russian president.

"These patriots sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears by the thousands. And the lives of over 100 unarmed protesters who were executed by professional snipers without mercy on the order of their criminal president," said Ukrainian-American Stephan Wasylko.

As is tradition, the Ukrainian flag was raised outside City Hall.

Sunday evening, members of the local Orthodox, Catholic and Pentecostal Ukrainian churches gathered to pray for peace in Ukraine.

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