August 23, 2022, 14:24

Under Enemy Fire and in Occupation: Extraordinary Stories about Ukraine’s National Flag

Serhii Pozniak, Serviceman of the Northern Group of the National Guard of Ukraine, a participant in the operation to place the National Flag of Ukraine on the highest point at the city of Sviatohirsk (Donetsk Oblast), a site of fierce fighting, and Serhii Pavliuk, chief stage director of Kherson Oblast Theater, one of the organizers of mass rallies in Kherson in March 2022, told their stories about the National Flag.

“The flag is a symbol of our state, our nation, and our struggle. The operation to raise the flag over Sviatohirsk was a success owed to my commanders. When you are commanded by people such as Lt. Col. Udovchenko and Max Mustang, your service becomes a series of successful incursions and operations. It gives rise to the fighting spirit, and the fighting spirit comes with symbols. And there is no symbol better than raising the National Flag above a monument to a communist revolutionary,” the National Guardsman stated.

He added that at that time the National Guard took the left bank of Sviatohirsk under fire control, with the Defense Forces starting the counterassault.

It was on the eve of August 2, a festive day for the russian paratroopers, so we raised our flag to show them the quality of their “special operation forces,” Serhii Pozniak said.

All four volunteers – National Guardsmen and Border Guards who raised the flag supported by snipers – approached the monument, “We used a drone to throw a cord over the monument and attached the flag; by doing so, we drew the enemy fire upon ourselves, but we all came out alive. It was really good! The flag showed everyone that it was Ukraine and that the National Guardsmen are the tough warriors!”

Serhii Pozniak added that the operation also aimed to demoralize the foe, with fearless Ukrainians raising their flag on a high point under the enemy fire.

Serhii Pavliuk is the chief stage director of Kherson Oblast Theater and one of the organizers of mass rallies in Kherson in March 2022. He said that huge National Flags were placed on Independence Day all over Ukraine a year ago. The flagstaff in Kherson fell, and it is now the only oblast capital taken by russians.

“In early March, the invaders entered our city. However, the entire city of Kherson was covered with our flags. In March, I visited the area near the Heavenly Hundred Heroes Alley and saw that the russians had thrown away our flag lying in a water pool. So, I started thinking about putting it back. When I lifted the flag from the ground, I heard a whistle behind my back, where a russian soldier aimed his gun at me and demanded that I go away. I took the flag and vowed to put it back after the de-occupation. Kherson residents raised this and a hundred more flags of Ukraine at a rally in the occupied city.

When I had to leave the city, it did not occur to me to leave the flag behind; the russians did not check my bags where the flag was by accident,” the prominent Kherson resident explained.

Today, Ukraine celebrates National Flag Day. The national flag was approved in 1992. The blue color epitomizes the skies and the yellow one – the wheat fields.

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