“Both the visit of Ursula von der Leyen as well as the declaration to celebrate Europe Day instead of Victory Day on 9 May in Ukraine are symbolic.”
Sebastian Schäffer, Managing Director at the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe (IDM), Secretary General of the Danube Rectors’ Conference (DRC), Associate Fellow at the Centre for Global Europe of the GLOBSEC Policy Institute in Bratislava told this to EDnews whilst commenting statement made by Ursula von der Leyen and a decree signed by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, according to which May 9 is declared Europe Day in the country instead of Victory Day.
According to Sebastian Schäffer, however, it does send a strong message:
“While the allies have celebrated the end of World War II on 8 May, the USSR did so on 9 May due the time difference as well as an additional signing of the German Instrument of Surrender. It stresses the further orientation towards Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, which has taken place gradually before the full-scale invasion (e.g. Christmas holidays) but gained a new momentum as well as acceleration since 24 February 2022. With the president of the European Commission, being present in Kyiv on Europe Day sends an equally strong message, reiterating what has been said last year that Ukraine belongs into the European family and into the EU - something that has not been dared to be officially issued by any EU representative before.”
He noted that it is also showing the commitment, as the Russian Federation has started again to attack cities in Ukraine with missiles, amongst them Kyiv:
“If the Kremlin will be able to win this war is hard for me to answer, as I have very limited insights into the military capabilities of both Moscow and Kyiv, but I certainly do hope they will not.”
“I would paraphrase here what president Zelensky has said: we do not know on which day Kyiv will have won the war, but it will be a day of celebration for Ukraine, Europe, and the whole world”, S. Schäffer concluded.