(FOX 9) - Wednesday marks Ukrainian Independence Day and the holiday has a new meaning against the backdrop of war. It's also the six-month anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian Americans in Minneapolis both celebrated their independence and remembered the sacrifices being made with a picnic fundraiser at Boom Island Park, sponsored by the Ukrainian American Community Center and the Ukrainian Village Band. The holiday commemorates when Ukraine voted to split with the Soviet Union 31 years ago.
Despite the odds against them, the Ukrainian army is still fighting fiercely to maintain the country's independence from Russia.
"Every opportunity they have had, they have fought for their independence to show the world they are not part of Russia, they do not want to be a part of Russia and Russia should stay out of our business," said Stefan Iwaskewycz, a member of the Ukrainian Village Band.
Wednesday night's event in Minneapolis also served as a fundraiser, with proceeds going towards Antyila Medical Evacuation Vehicles Fund, which helps fund emergency vehicles that help transport civilians and wounded soldiers away from the front lines.