As Ukraine marks National Flag Day, the country has received support from an unexpected place: Sevastopol, a city in Crimea that was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Today, a few dozen Sevastopol locals dressed in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag and gathered at the city’s waterfront. A photograph posted on Facebook by one of the participants attracted many comments of support and appreciation.
On August 23, 1991, after a failed coup in Moscow by Communist hardliners, a group of Ukrainian parliamentarians brought the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag into the Session Hall of the Verkhovna Rada. That event would become the official basis for National Flag Day.
The next day the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Act of the Declaration of Independence and broke away from the Soviet Union. This year, Ukraine will be celebrating the 26th anniversary of its independence.
In January, a small group of people in Sevastopol also celebrated Ukraine’s Day of Unity.
Since the 2014 annexation, pro-Ukrainian residents and the indigenous Crimean Tatar population of the Crimean peninsula have frequently faced discrimination and political persecution.