Ukraine Celebrates Day of National Unity

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Ukraine's Day of National Unity was celebrated in Kyiv on Saturday. It is the day when the east and west of Ukraine were united into one state. Our correspondents in Kyiv bring us to the celebrations.

On January 22nd, Ukraine celebrates the Day of National Unity. 92 years ago the Ukrainian People's Republic and West Ukrainian People's Republic merged into one state.

President Viktor Yanukovych spoke at a ceremony in Sophia Square.

[Viktor Yanukovych, Ukrainian President]:
"On January 22, 1919 at Sofia Square, east and west shook hands to announce the implementation of the age-old dream of our people -- to live in their own unified state."

The audience at the ceremony was inspired.

[Valery Pustovoitenko, Adviser to the President of Ukraine]:
"On this day I want all the people to look [at each other] and shake hands, hug each other, and smile, so that we, Ukrainians, are together."

To mark the day back in 1990, more than a million Ukranians joined hands to form a human chain. It went from Sophia Square in Kyiv to the city of Lviv, which are more than 300 miles apart.

Today, the opposition celebrates the Day of National Unity at Sofia Square under different banners and slogans.

[Sergei Pantyuk, Poet & Social Activist]:
"A lot of different flags are next to each other. They might, in life, not be very friendly, but at this sacred place, where once the proclamation of an independent Ukraine was held, it is very symbolic."

However, not everyone was festive on this day. A group of entrepreneurs wanted to hold their own rally by the Administrative Court of Kyiv, protesting a new tax code, but their request was denied. So instead, some of them held a hunger strike near Sofia Square.

NTD News, Kyiv, Ukraine.