Yurij (George) Serhijczuk,
After the legendary Colonel Yevhen Konovalets, military commander of the Ukrainian National Republic Army, Commander of the Ukrainian Military Organization and first leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists departed Canada in 1929, after visiting members of the Ukrainian War Veterans Association of Canada (UWVA), he wrote the following words to members of this organization upon his return to Europe:
“The rifleman’s ideal is immortal, it captivates and will captivate new fighters every time, until it becomes a reality, until there is a strong Ukrainian army on Ukrainian soil. Be worthy bearers of that ideal on Canadian soil, hold your flag high and unite under it all those who, not by word, but by deed, want to obtain a better fate for the Ukrainian people.”
Letter to the UWVA of Canada by Col. E. Konovalets, dated June 24, 1929.
On December 15th, 2022, members of the UWVA of Canada met in Toronto to continue the ideals of the late Col. E. Konovalets. Though almost a hundred years have passed, the same historic enemy of Ukraine, Russia, continues its assault on Ukraine and its people by almost every possible means.
UWVA President, Captain (Retired) – Andre Sochaniwsky CD, opened the meeting with a moment of silence for all those Ukrainians (including Canadians serving with the Ukrainian Armed Forces) and Canadian soldiers past and present, who fought and lay down their lives for Ukraine’s and Canada’s independence, freedom and democracy.
The UWVA President continued by reviewing the current situation in Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. Currently, there are Canadian members of two foreign brigades serving with the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Ukraine, the Canadian Ukrainian Brigade and the Norman Brigade. He also updated the membership and guests present on the recent approval of a joint Ukrainian Canadian Congress-National and UWVA proposal for the creation of a “sacrifice” medal to honour Canadians serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces who have either been seriously wounded or killed in combat.
UWVA Treasurer, Taras Jackiw, provided an update on disbursements from the UWVA Pro Patria Fund to assist the Ukrainian Armed Forces with non-lethal aid. The fund was graciously donated to the UWVA of Canada for these purposes by the Ukrainian Credit Union Limited.
Special guest, recently arrived from Ukraine, provided an account of his experiences providing assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the frontlines, including such hotspots as Bakhmut. He personally delivered non-lethal supplies to frontline combat units in eastern Ukraine, trained and provided combat first aid to Ukrainian soldiers. He was also in Bucha to assist with the retrieval of Ukrainians senselessly and indiscriminately killed by the Russian military units.
The meeting concluded with a presentation by Lev Pavlenko, Executive Administrator, Rare Books and Archives Committee, Ukrainian National Federation of Canada – Toronto Branch. Lev, in December 2022, presented an academic paper at the HistUkrainika, international conference on Ukrainian history and culture, organized by the Scientific Society of Students, Faculty of History of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, on the topic — “The Legacy of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen and other Veterans of the Ukrainian War of Independence in the Ukrainian-Canadian Diaspora in the Interwar Period”. The text of this presentation given at the academic conference and our meeting can be found in both English and Ukrainian in this issue of the New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
As it enters its 95th year of existence, the Ukrainian War Veterans Association of Canada will continue its mandate of fostering relationships between the Ukrainian Canadian community, Canadian and Ukrainian militaries and of supporting military-related projects.