Residents of Artemivsk will unfurl the world’s largest flag of Ukraine at the Metalurg Stadium at 4 p.m. on August 23, to mark the National Flag Day in the liberated city. The flag has been entered in the Book of Records of Ukraine. It is 60 meters long and 40 meters wide, making for a total area of 2,400 square meters. The organizers have also called on people to use other Ukrainian symbols, like embroidered shirts or blue-and-yellow ribbons. Similar flag unfurling ceremonies were previously held in Lviv, Mariupol, Odesa, Lutsk, Mykolaiv, Cherkasy and other cities of Ukraine.
Ihor KARNATSKY, senior research associate of Artemivsk Local History Museum, commented for The Day: “The initiative to hold this event came from the Artemivsk battalion commander and head of the district administration Kostiantyn Mateichenko. He got support from the initiative group Ukrainian Bakhmut, which helps military units, stationed in the city, and wounded Ukrainian soldiers as well as advances various cultural initiatives.
“This flag was previously unfurled in Donetsk in early spring of this year, when there were mass pro-Ukrainian rallies in that city. The flag stayed with protesters even in times of danger. For example, our countryman Dmytro Cherniavsky was killed during one such rally. We hope that it will be all peaceful here, especially since soldiers of the Artemivsk battalion promise to accompany our column.
“This event will be highly symbolic. There was quite strong pro-Ukrainian movement in Bakhmut county in 1917, with both local organizations and branches of the Ukrainian Revolutionary Democratic Party and the Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionary Party active here. They actively participated in elections to the All-Ukrainian Constituent Assembly, and raised the Donbas’s first Ukrainian flag over Bakhmut county self-government building in November 1917, when the Central Rada proclaimed the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR). However, the UPR administration did not last long in our city then, as the Bolsheviks took the power in their hands in December 1917. The Central Rada recaptured our region in April 1918 with Austro-Hungarian troops’ support, and Ukrainian administration under Hetman Skoropadsky survived in the county until November 1918.
“Artemivsk residents’ attitudes vary, as the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic enjoyed a lot of support at the May referendum. Supporters of the united Ukraine are quite active as well, though.”