Ukraine, in snub to Moscow, to adopt British war-time symbol, ditch Soviet war name

April 22, 2015 16:43
1 minute read.

Ukraine, in a break with tradition that is certain to rile Moscow, is ditching the Soviet name for World War Two and aims to adopt the poppy, a mainly British wartime symbol, to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.

The moves, signalled by Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk on Wednesday, marked an attempt by Kiev to distance itself from Moscow's Soviet-style celebrations, planned for May 9, as the conflict with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine drags on.

In another break with the Soviet past, Kiev will align its calendar with that of its European allies by adding for the first time May 8 - known in the West as Victory in Europe Day - as a national holiday.

A decree signed by President Petro Poroshenko fixed May 8 as a day for reconciliation between those Ukrainians who fought only the Nazis with those who, after the war, went on to fight Soviet rule also.

Ukraine will then mark Victory day on May 9 with its own war veterans' march in Kiev and several other big cities.

Kiev, with most Western governments, is boycotting the World War Two victory festivities in Moscow because of Russia's role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Moscow denies it is arming the rebels.

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