Address by Mayor Jan van Zanen at the celebration of Ukraine Independence Day, 24 August 2023
Hoisting a national flag is always a special moment.
But since the Russian invasion in Ukraine, hoisting the Ukrainian flag represents much more than a special, formal moment.
It is a statement.
This flag that we are hoisting today is an extremely clear sign of our solidarity with Ukraine.
And the location, in the middle of The Hague, contributes to that.
The heart of our parliamentary democracy.
International City of Peace and Justice, which welcomed President Zelensky earlier this year.
Russian terror attacks are the opposite of what The Hague stands for:
Peace, justice and non-violent resolution of conflicts.
It is therefore no surprise that since February last year, the flag of Ukraine has been visible in very many other places in our city.
Solidarity with Ukraine is demonstrated in other ways too.
There are now around 3,000 refugees in The Hague, accommodated in municipal locations and private homes.
Like the dancers from the United Ukrainian Ballet, who also found refuge in our city.
And early this summer, the Municipal Council of The Hague decided to set up a taskforce to help with reconstruction projects in Ukraine.
But this is not just about solidarity, support and reconstruction.
Above all, this war is about justice.
As the centre of international law, The Hague is actively helping to achieve justice for Ukraine.
Obviously in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In our city, two important organisations have already embarked on their work:
The International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression and the Register of Damage for Ukraine.
Today, on this Independence Day of Ukraine, we show our respect and remember all Ukrainians, citizens and soldiers who have lost their lives since 24 February 2022.
We confirm our solidarity with the brave women, men and children of Ukraine.
And we repeat what we desire most for them: peace and freedom.
Glory to Ukraine.