Espreso. Global

Act of Restoration of Ukrainian State: June 30 marks historic proclamation

30 June, 2024 Sunday

June 30 marks a pivotal date in Ukrainian history, as the Act of Restoration of the Ukrainian State was proclaimed on this day in 1941


This event was a milestone in Ukraine's struggle for independence, leaving a lasting impact on the nation's memory.

The defeat of the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-1921 was a severe blow to Ukrainians, leading to the loss of independence and the division of its territory among the Soviet Union, Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia. However, the fight for independence continued.

The Government of the Ukrainian People's Republic, along with hetman circles and various nationalist organizations, persisted in their efforts. During the interwar period, young Ukrainian patriots formed the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), playing a crucial role in the ongoing struggle.

The Act of Restoration of the Ukrainian State was proclaimed during World War II when German troops occupied Western Ukraine after the Soviet retreat. At this moment, the OUN, led by Stepan Bandera, seized the opportunity to restore Ukraine's independence.

Proclamation of the Act

In June 1941, during WWII, a decision was made to announce the Act of Restoration of the Ukrainian State in Lviv. Once Soviet troops left the city on June 29, the German army allowed Ukrainian nationalists to enter. At 4:30 a.m. on June 30, the Nachtigall Battalion, led by Roman Shukhevych, entered Lviv to ensure the event took place.

A few hours later, another group led by Yaroslav Stetsko, who was tasked by the Ukrainian National Committee to announce the restoration, entered the city. At 6:00 p.m., the Ukrainian National Assembly began at the local Prosvita cultural and educational society on Rynok Square, attended by delegates from across the country and representatives of Metropolitan Andrii Sheptytskyi.

At the meeting, the restoration of the Ukrainian State was proclaimed, recognized as the will of the Ukrainian people, and a temporary government headed by Yaroslav Stetsko – the Ukrainian State Board – was created. The first paragraph of the Act states:

By the will of the Ukrainian people, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists under the leadership of Stepan Bandera proclaims the restoration of the Ukrainian State, for which whole generations of the best sons of Ukraine laid down their heads.

The next point called for organizing temporary government structures in various territories, anticipating further integration with the main government planned for Kyiv.

In the western lands of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Government is created, which is subordinate to the Ukrainian National Government, which will be established in the capital of Ukraine – Kyiv, by the will of the Ukrainian people.

Historian Svyatoslav Lypovetskyi explained in an interview with Suspilne Ternopil that Stetsko and Shukhevych knew the Germans wouldn't let them reach Kyiv, so they needed to proclaim the Act quickly in Lviv.

For diplomatic reasons, a final item was added to the document, declaring cooperation with "Greater Germany," which drew criticism and repression from Soviet authorities and became a target of Russian propaganda.

The proclamation was broadcast twice on the radio, celebrating Ukrainian will. The next day, the Ukrainian National Committee in Krakow printed an information bulletin, the first and last. Ukrainian authorities were quickly established in many cities and villages.

Independent Ukraine: Act of proclamation of the Ukrainian state

Photo: The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory

Reaction and consequences

The planning for the proclamation of the Act of Restoration of the Ukrainian State was done in strict secrecy, catching Nazi Germany off guard. On June 30, two German officers learned about the meeting and arrived much later. They were confused and warned that Germany wouldn't support an independent Ukraine.

The response to the Act's proclamation was harsh: repression against Ukrainian nationalists and murders ensued. Many OUN leaders, including Stepan Bandera and Yaroslav Stetsko, were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

Despite this repression, the Act's proclamation significantly impacted the struggle for Ukrainian independence. It inspired many Ukrainians to keep fighting against both Nazi and Soviet occupiers.

Significance in the history of Ukraine

The Act of Restoration of the Ukrainian State on June 30, 1941, is a crucial moment in Ukraine's history. Historians say this event shows the Ukrainian people's unstoppable desire for independence and freedom. Although the bid to restore statehood during those tough times failed, it became a lasting symbol of struggle and hope passed down through generations.

Today, Ukraine commemorates this event with activities like laying flowers at monuments, hosting scientific conferences, and organizing thematic exhibitions. This day highlights the importance of national unity and resilience in the fight for freedom.

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