President Victor Yushchenko on Wednesday spoke to a crowd of war veterans in the Great Patriotic War Museum Complex in Kyiv, according to the President`s press-office.

“We are paying tribute to all those who were fighting in that war to liberate their motherland from the totalitarian invaders. The memory of each warrior, each victim and each defender of Ukraine will be eternal and indispensable for our nation,” he said.

The Ukrainian leader urged the country’s NGOs, political parties and citizens to unanimously appreciate our past. “We must take care of each veteran among us. This hearty care should be demonstrated daily by sons and daughters to their parents. This is our debt and our gratitude,” he said.

Yushchenko called on the veterans to “take a step towards one another for the sake of Ukraine and posterity.”

“I am firmly convinced we must be proud of the numerous examples of unity and courage in those war years,” he said, adding that this unity “was created by millions of Ukrainian names,” among them Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Oles Honchar, Mykola Vatutin, Nykyfor Sholudenko, Oleksandr Saburov, Ivan Kozhedub, Roman Shukhevych, and Olena Teliga.

The President said he would tolerate no attempt to divide the Ukrainian nation. “I believe it is time we stopped those cynical class struggle supporters who openly despise Ukraine and plant the seeds of hatred among our people,” he said.

Yushchenko added that each fighter for Ukraine “deserves eternal respect and gratitude.” “So I believe we will eventually legalize the status of those who fought for Ukraine and its independence in the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s, and hope this historical justice and truth will be restored,” he said.

The ceremony included garlands, rifle volleys and one minute of silence to honor the victims and heroes of the Great Patriotic War. Yushchenko then visited the museum to lay flowers near the photograph of his father.