On June 30, the city of Kherson celebrated the 74th anniversary of the Declaration of Ukrainian Independence. At a small event in the city’s center, young people gathered to read the Declaration aloud and to sing the national anthem.
The Declaration was written during a brief interval when many Ukrainians thought that Germany was going to liberate Ukraine from the Soviet Union and allow it to become an independent state. At the time, they were unaware of what the Nazis were about and what the fascist regime had in store for them. The gathering, therefore, was to commemorate those who had struggled for Ukraine’s independence, and to mark the tragedy that ensued once the Nazis invaded.
Russian mass media, however, completely distorted the event with such headlines as “Kherson Nationalists Publicly Swore Allegiance to Hitler.” Such accounts were carried by LifeNews, Nakanune.ru, RiaFan, Ridus, and others.
The people who gathered did not swear allegiance to Hitler on June 30. They did, however, read the third paragraph of the Declaration out loud, which calls for allegiance.
The media reports failed to mention that before reading the Declaration, a young woman specified that the Nazi regime was not Ukraine’s salvation, but its terror. In the video, she says (at 1:05): “Hitler’s plans for Ukraine and the bloodiness of the Nazi regime were not known at that time.”