Bolton’s Ukrainian community came together at the weekend to celebrate 32 years since Ukraine declared independence.

The official date of Ukraine Independence Day falls on August 24, but the Bolton community united for a celebratory event with music and delicious food.

After a speech was presented by Bolton branch chair of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Yaroslaw Tymchyshyn, music was then performed the Ukrainian Chamber Choir Switoch, Mirage and Rev FR Ewhen Nebesniak.

Speaking about the significance of the event and what the current situation is like in Ukraine amid the war with Russia, Yaroslaw said: “Considering what is going on with the war we have to remember the good times, we have to remember the times when Ukraine, like now, fought for its independence.

“It is important that we remember those times especially for people like myself who was in Ukraine at the time.

“There are three of us here who were in Ukraine doing a concert when independence was announced.

“I remember my reaction, my reaction was ‘what they waited for us to come to do it?’, it was just a fantastic moment and to be there when it happened, I just wish my fathers generation could have been there, they were too old by that time.

“I wouldn’t say the situation in Ukraine at the moment is on the knife edge, I think that is a bit melodramatic, but I think we are turning the corner and I think we are turning the screw on them [Russia] and the more reports I read and the more reports I hear, is that the Russians are running away.

The Bolton News: The Ukraine Independence celebration eventThe Ukraine Independence celebration event (Image: NQ)

“They know they are going to get beaten and its just a place that is going to collapse but that being said places are still being hit, that’s unpleasant and you don’t know where the rockets will hit and there are positives but there are negatives too.

“One of the worst negatives though is that you only have to look at the cemeteries’ with the blue and yellow flags around and see how many have suffered, that is not pleasant.

“It brings home to life what the reality of it all is.

“The significance is that it brings us all closer together and it is all about unity and togetherness and that is what we have got here.

"And it isn’t just my generation here, it is also all the Ukrainians that have come over and they are with us here and I think that is just as important as we live as one, there is no us and them, we are one.”

Olena Krysenko, a refugee from Ukraine who is living in Bolton, said: “We are celebrating Independence Day which is actually on August 24 but today is like a celebration so as many people could come on the weekend and celebrate all together.

“I’m very surprised everyone came in embroidery, I should have worn mine.

“I wanted to come today to celebrate because it is my country, because it is my tradition and because although we are refugees here, we still stand together, and we should stand together.”

On the official Independence Day, Thursday, August 24, Bolton Town Hall will be lit up in blue and yellow.

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