All wars end one day. First there is truce, then there is peace. Sooner or later we will be assessing the outcome. Of course, it’s too early to talk about the expulsion of the uninvited Russian guests from Ukraine. The military conflict, or at least armed provocations, in Donbas will continue, perhaps for several years. And the country must learn not only to live with it, but also to develop in such conditions. Military escalation is the Kremlin’s only lever of pressure on Ukraine, particularly, in all important negotiations. So, Ukraine must be prepared for this.

Russia has long exhausted its arsenal of economic and political arguments. Russia may try to scare with economic sanctions some "Turkish tomatoes," but Ukraine has long passed this stage.

The events of the past two years have been inscribed in golden letters in the Ukrainian history. The future generations will be brought up on this history. Thousands of our compatriots are direct participants in these events, and no Russian propaganda will ever be able to hide or “edit” the fact of aggression against Ukraine. Ukrainians need no explanation of who they are fighting. Ukrainian veterans will be visiting schools and telling of how they protected our country from the Russian aggression.

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The scale of volunteering, which in fact became the alternative provision service for the army may show ineffectiveness of people in high offices, but it also shows the independence and amazing ability of self-organization of a huge part of the Ukrainian society. Sometimes the Ukrainians have no one to rely on but themselves. And behind every volunteer on the front lines stand millions of ordinary Ukrainians, who personally contribute to the victory. This group of active citizens is where the new national elite is being born.

Ukraine and the Ukrainians have found each other. The old myths have been destroyed, and it is clear now, who is a friend and who is foe. When the smoke of patriotic enthusiasm cleared, it became obvious that true patriotism is not just sending some money to the army, but also not expecting that the president will change the burnt light bulb at your apartment complex. It’s also obvious that we have a long way to go on a winding road toward the “Dream Ukraine,” with much anxiety of a possible failure on the way.

But today I want to remind that no internal development and no reforms are possible at the point of foreign guns.

The examples of occupied Crimea and Donbas show that the invaders first destroy all Ukrainian symbols: they ban the Ukrainian language and the Ukrainian media, rewrite Ukrainian history, persecute for loving the country. And it is only due to the Ukrainian troops that the aggression hasn’t spread to the other Ukrainian regions.

So, congratulations! Happy Volunteer Day and Happy Armed Forces Day!

Roman Tsymbaliuk