Ukraine's Defender Day was officially established on October 14, 2014 by a presidential decree "in order to honor the courage and heroism of the defenders of Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity, military traditions and victories of the Ukrainian people, foster the further strengthening of patriotic spirit in society and support the initiative of the Ukrainian public."
The urgent need for such a national holiday that would replace the Soviet Defender of the Fatherland Day, which was marked on February 23, was particularly acute after Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and the beginning of hostilities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, when the trends of de-communism - refusal from Soviet symbols and holidays - strengthened in Ukrainian society as a reaction to Russia's armed aggression.
Therefore, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko established Ukraine's Defender Day on October 14, abolishing the celebration of the Defender of the Fatherland Day on February 23.
The date of October 14 was not chosen by chance. On this day Ukraine also marks the Day of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin, the Day of the Ukrainian Cossacks, as well as the anniversary of the creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). From ancient times, the Virgin was a patron of the Ukrainian Cossacks and all Ukrainian armed groups.
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