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Defenders' Day in Ukraine

Defenders' Day was first celebrated in Ukraine on October 14, 2014. In a press release, President Petro Poroshenko said that the day honors the courage and heroism of defenders of Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity, military traditions and feats of the people of Ukraine.

Ukrainian capital Kiev saw masses of violent anti-government protests in early 2014.
Ukrainian capital Kiev saw masses of violent anti-government protests in early 2014.

Ukrainian Heroes Rewarded

In 2014, the Ukrainian president presented medals to military personnel. Political and military leaders made public statements that were nationally televised or published online. Some schools held assemblies where students gave flowers to local heroes.

What’s Open or Closed?

As Defenders' Day is such a new national holiday, it’s best to check with the local authorities which services are closed. Some businesses close for the day while others remain open.

Controversial Date

Ukraine was established as its own country in 1991. After years of corruption and little economic growth, Ukraine saw a series of violent protests in February 2014, resulting in the impeachment of former president Viktor Yanukovych. Russia refused to recognize the new interim government and invaded the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.

In the aftermath of the February demonstrations, also known as the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, pro-Russian and anti-government groups continued to demonstrate in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, an area commonly referred to as the "Donbass". On 5 September, 2014 the so-called Minsk Protocol, a deal to establish a ceasefire, was signed.

Defenders' Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday Type
TueOct 142014Defenders' DayObservance
WedOct 142015Defenders' DayNational holiday
FriOct 142016Defenders' DayNational holiday
SatOct 142017Defenders' DayNational holiday
SunOct 142018Defenders' DayNational holiday
MonOct 152018Defenders' Day observedNational holiday
MonOct 142019Defenders' DayNational holiday
WedOct 142020Defenders' DayNational holiday

Quick Facts

Defenders’ Day is a national Ukrainian holiday that celebrates local heroes and supports nationalism.

Defenders' Day 2018

Sunday, October 14, 2018
Monday, October 15, 2018 – Observed date

Defenders' Day 2019

Monday, October 14, 2019


Name in other languages

День захисника УкраїниUkrainian
День защитника УкраиныRussian
Defenders' DayEnglish
Tag des Verteidigers der NationGerman
Forsvarernes dagNorwegian

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in October 2018 in Ukraine

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