UKRAINIANS from across Monmouthshire came together at Abergavenny Community Centre on August 24th to mark the nation’s Independence Day.

The day began with a sit-down meal of borscht and bread, followed by vareniki - a staple dish in Ukrainian cuisine They are half-moon shaped dumplings boiled in salted water. The fillings may vary, but the most common version is the potato version.

After speeches and a quiz, the weather cleared allowing the celebrations to continue in the Community centre grounds.

The party sang Ukrainian songs, danced and had a barbecue. Over 40 local families have opened their homes to Ukrainian families fleeing the war. Spokesperson, Helen Buhaenko said, ‘Thank you to the many people who have helped make this important and poignant occasion possible. Abergavenny Community centre for hosting the event, Huw Beavans Butchers, the Angel Bakery and Abergavenny Rotary for their donations. The response to supporting Ukraine has been amazing with everyone pulling together to help this nation defeat this brutal aggression’.

Mayor of Abergavenny, Cllr Tony Konieczny, told the Ukrainian guests and host families, ‘It is both an honour and a privilege to be invited to attend the celebration of thirty-one years of independence for Ukraine with the Ukrainian families who have joined our community.

‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the host families for their kindness and generosity and reaffirm our community support for those seeking sanctuary from the illegal and brutal invasion of their homeland.

‘We have come together in a spirit of friendship to share food and traditions and express our solidarity with you and your beautiful country. We pray for peace and an end to the suffering and conflict in Ukraine to enable the people to freely determine their future as an independent country.’

Abergavenny Community Centre hold a weekly coffee morning for Ukrainian guests and host families on Thursdays from 11am to 1pm.