Celebrating Ukrainian Independence Day

ukraine candy katrinaUkrainian Independence Day celebrates the day the Eastern European country achieved independence in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union. Saturday night a group of Ukrainians and a large contingent of supportive Poles gathered for a dinner dance in Phoenix to honor Ukrainian Independence Day and raise funds for Ukrainian soldiers fighting in defense of pro-Russian separatists supported by Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Even a warm banquet hall didn’t stop the dancing and fun, although I swear some of the meat platters on the dinner tables started sizzling it was so warm in the building.

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Today Ukraine Shares Borders with Both Poland and Russia
Today Ukraine borders seven countries, most notably 300+ miles with Poland and nearly 1,000 miles with Russia. Of course, as Putin’s Russian army advances through Ukraine in a conquering frenzy, I couldn’t say for sure what the borders look like today. And while Ukraines and Poles have been historical enemies, borders change, politics change, and there is a community of ethnic Poles in Ukraine threatened by Putin. Now is the time for Poland to support an independent Ukraine, lest the country fall and start an unchecked domino effect across Europe.

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Poland Has Sent More Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine than Any Other Country
Poland has sent more humanitarian aid to Ukraine than any other country. In the United States, the press is focused on the Middle East, an area of strategic importance to the US and a place where U.S. troops have been for longer than any American would like. NATO, of which the U.S. is a member, supports an independent Ukraine; yet Ukraine remains in a political tug-of-war between Russia and NATO. Beyond sanctions, we do need to pay attention to Eastern Europe. Lest history repeat itself, I’m reminded of another charismatic leader in the 1930’s, who censored the press in his own country, was determined to eliminate ethnic minorities, and expanded his country’s borders with invade-and-conquer maneuvers. Only a world war stopped him.

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A Fun Evening for a Good Cause
Good food, dancing, great company, Polish friends (even a Polish band) and a good cause made for a great time. I even won the first raffle prize. I hadn’t previewed all the prizes so chose the colorful chocolate, one of the smallest prizes. (Have I mentioned I don’t think well on my feet?) But it’s just as well the good Ukrainian vodka and Patron tequila went to others. I still consider wine and chocolate two of the major food groups.

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Tags: About Katrina, Commentary

5 Comments. Leave new

  • Ukraine has been in the headlines and I didn’t know exactly where it was! Near Russia , of course, but 300 miles on the border with Poland? Most interesting! Poland has such a troubled history of armies marching through its corridor and now more unrest has come to the region. Who’s going to stop Putin?

    • Katrina Shawver
      August 24, 2015 10:07 pm

      Marcia, you raise an excellent question as to “who will stop Putin.” There are US troops in Poland right now for “training exercises.” We can only watch the news and guess – but the stakes and risks to Poland are very great. If Ukraine falls, then Russia will border Poland. And then . . . .?

  • What a fun celebration you note here. I really liked the ethnic artistic weaving too. How cool that Poland really sends more support to the Ukraine than anyone.

  • In WWII, until Germany invaded Russia, Russia was sending some supplies to Germany. Poor Poland seems to be suffering from the Russian victory. Scary.

  • Lucy Spychalski
    August 29, 2015 3:05 pm

    Reality check. Throughout ages, it has been proven that total dominance over another nation does not offer peace. Eventually, the dominated nation rebels against the aggressor. There needs to be a peaceful solution between Ukraine and Russia. Such a solution is attainable only when representative of the respective countries are willing to negotiate peacefully rather than engage in fighting.

    Poland and Russia as neighbours need to cooperate with each other not because of political differences but instead, as countries at peace, for trading purposes.

    Lucy Spychalski


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