Thursday, March 12, 2015

‘Free Nadiya Savchenko Day’

      In addition to celebrating International Women’s Day, Ukrainian women’s organizations in Ukraine and throughout the world, including the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America called for all to observe March 8 as “Free Nadiya Savchenko Day” by holding rallies and fasting. The North Port Ukrainian American community also held special “Molebens” (prayers) at the conclusion of last Sunday’s liturgies in both Ukrainian churches here, St. Andrew’s and St. Mary’s.

    Ukrainian military paratrooper and pilot Nadiya Savchenko was captured in 2014 by the Russian-supported terrorists in Eastern Ukraine and
clandestinely transferred across the border to Russia. Russian authorities charged her with involvement in the death of two Russian journalists during the anti-terrorist action in the Donbas region. Later, she was additionally charged with illegally crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border. While in jail, Nadiya declared, over two months ago, a hunger strike protesting her illegal detention, and her health is now in
very poor condition as a result of it.

    During the last Ukrainian parliamentary elections in November, she was elected a member of “Verkhovna Rada,” Ukraine’s parliament, as No. 1 on the “Batkivshchyna” (fatherland) party list, and in December she was included in Ukraine’s quota for representatives in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Thus, Putin’s Russian authorities are holding illegally a member of another country’s parliament and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe, in violation of Geneva Conventions and all international laws and treaties.

    Nadiya Savchenko was the only female soldier
serving with the Ukrainian peacekeeping troops in Iraq.
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    The monthly membership meeting of Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans took place Friday at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center (known as the “Oseredok”). The meeting was chaired by Post Commander Col. Roman Rondiak, USA (Ret.).

    After listening to and approving the reports of officers and committee chairs, members discussed at length the post’s traditional participation in the Memorial Day program at Venice Memorial Gardens on May 22 and North Port’s community observance of Memorial Day on May 25.
Yours truly was appointed coordinator of our post’s participation on Memorial Day with Post 254 of the American Legion to ensure that the official program and other publications adequately and properly reflect Post 40’s role.

    The next membership meeting will be at 3 p.m. April 3 at the Oseredok. Members are being asked to come at 1:30 p.m. to prepare Memorial Day ribbons.
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    The North Port and Southwest Florida Ukrainian-American community commemorated and honored the memory of Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861), Ukraine’s national hero, artist, poet and revolutionary. The festive assembly, sponsored by the
Coordinating Committee of Ukrainian American Clubs and Organizations, headed by Roma Garran of Venice, was held Saturday at the Oseredok.
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    Other important community events coming up: March 16, annual membership meeting of the Oseredok; March 20, Pre-Easter Bazaar at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church; March 28, Pre-Easter Bazaar at St. Andrew’s; and March 31, Scholarship Awards Luncheon of the Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at atanask@aol. com. 

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

by Atanas Kobryn

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