Ukraine’s president vowed to increase troop numbers to fend off attacks by Russia-backed separatist rebels and warned his countrymen that there is still the threat of a “large-scale invasion,” in an impassioned speech to mark Independence Day on Monday.
Speaking during a military parade, President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine must not be complacent even though hostilities have largely died down. In a show of force, thousands of Ukrainian servicemen marched in downtown Kiev to commemorate the country’s independence from the Soviet Union on Aug. 24, 1991.
“We stand for peace, but we are not pacifists,” Poroshenko said. “We must get through the 25th year of independence as if on brittle ice. We must understand that the smallest misstep could be fatal. The war for independence is still ongoing.”