Day of Remembrance for Victims of the War in Ukraine in Latvia Date in the current year: May 9, 2024

Day of Remembrance for Victims of the War in Ukraine in Latvia The Day of Remembrance for Victims of the War in Ukraine is observed in Latvia on May 9. It was created to honor the memory of all Ukrainians who died as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Russo-Ukrainian War began in February 2014, shortly after the Revolution of Dignity that resulted in the ousting of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and supported separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (regions) who declared the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

After almost eight years of fighting in the Donbas, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and military personnel (since the war was still ongoing as of May 2023 when this article was published, the total number of military and civilian casualties was unknown).

One of the most appalling aspects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was that Russian forces carried out deliberate attacks against civilian targets far from the front line, including railway stations, residential buildings, shopping malls, hospitals, schools and kindergartens, refugee columns, and energy infrastructure. Ukrainian cities and towns that have suffered the most from Russian attacks on civilians include Bucha, Chernihiv, Dnipro, Irpin, Izium, Kharkiv, Kremenchuk, Kryvyi Rih, Kyiv, Mariupol, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Okhtyrka, Sumy, Uman, Vinnytsia, Zaporizhzhia, Zhytomyr, and many more.

The parliament of Latvia (Saeima) first designated May 9 as the Day of Remembrance for Victims of the War in Ukraine in 2022, a little more than a month after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The next year, the Saeima once again set May 9 as remembrance day for Ukrainian war victims to reiterate Latvia’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their struggle for their country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.

The date of the remembrance day was deliberately chosen to coincide with Victory Day, a holiday celebrated in Russia and some other former Soviet republics to commemorate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. The Baltic states, however, observe Victory in Europe Day on May 8 and see Russian Victory Day as a reminder of the Soviet occupation and annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The Day of Remembrance for Victims of the War in Ukraine is dedicated to both defenders of Ukraine who were killed in action or succumbed to wounds afterwards and civilian victims of Russian military aggression. Since it is a day of mourning, national flags on state and municipal buildings and private residences are flown in mourning design (with black ribbons).

In addition, the national flag of Ukraine in mourning design is flown alongside the Latvian flag at Riga Castle (the president’s official residence), the Palace of Justice (the seat of the Cabinet of Ministers), and Saeima House. All public events that have nothing to do with remembering victims, such as mass entertainment events and festivities, are banned, and fireworks are banned as well.

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Day of Remembrance for Victims of the War in Ukraine in Latvia, observances in Latvia, day of mourning, remembrance day