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Ukraine marks end of WWII, rebels remember Soviet victory

Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 01:56

For the first time in 70 years, Kiev joins most of Europe to mark the end of World War II, as rebels remember the war's end through a Soviet prism. Mana Rabiee reports.

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For the first time in 70 years, much of Ukraine joins most of the rest of Europe in marking the end of World War II. The red poppy, a mainly British symbol of war, crowning the Motherland monument in the capital Kiev, an indication of Ukraine's break from its Soviet Past. President Petro Poroshenko had hoped to make May 8 a day of reconciliation, to reunite Ukrainians with different views of its year-long war in the east, but also to set this moment apart from WWII victory ceremonies in neighboring Russia, which Kiev accuses of stoking the crisis. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: "In our holy fight for our independence, Ukraine is supported by the whole world. One of the signs of support was a wide international boycott of today's parade at Red Square in Moscow." In the Eastern separatist stronghold of Donetsk, the heavy rain didn't deter thousands who came to watch the military parade marking the SOVIET victory in World War II. Row after row of troops and military students were followed by this... The so-called Immortal regiment, photographs of Ukrainians who fought the Nazis carried by their relatives. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DONETSK RESIDENT, LYUDMILA, SAYING: "It is a sacred holiday for me. My great-grandfather died defending the Motherland. Now my husband is defending his Motherland. For me it means everything." In Kiev, as elsewhere in the country, WWII can be a touchy subject. A minority of men joined a militia that was prepared to ally itself with Nazis invaders to fight Soviet Communist rule, leaving Ukrainian nationalism vulnerable to accusations of fascist sympathies.

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Ukraine marks end of WWII, rebels remember Soviet victory

Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 01:56