Vilnius celebrates 25 years of Ukrainian independence

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On August 24, 2016, Vilnius celebrated the 25th anniversary of Ukraine independence.

To celebrate the occasion, the Lithuanian capital lit the Town Hall and the Hill of Three Crosses monument in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag. Both locations were kept lit throughout the night.

„Lithuania and Ukraine have always been united through their shared histories,“ said Vilnius Mayor, Remigijus Šimašius. „I am talking about the shared history of freedom, European values, and looking to a brighter, more transparent future.

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„We also share a common history of breaking away from the Soviet Union, which took time, effort, and tragically, human cost.

„However, on behalf of Vilnius, we wish Ukraine and Ukrainians across the world a happy independence day, a bright, free, and independent future.

„Слава Україні!“*

Lithuania gained independence from the USSR on March 11, 1990. Meanwhile Ukraine broke free from Soviet rule on August 24 one year later.

August 26 saw Ukraine begin its de-Sovietisation programme, which saw all monuments dedicated to prominent figures of communism removed from public spaces across the country.

The most prominent was the removal of the statue of Lenin state on October Revolution Square. The square is today known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti.

* Editors note: „Glory to Ukraine“.

All photos by Saulius Žiūros.