Ukraine held a grand military parade on Sunday in downtown Kiev to mark the 17th anniversary of the country's independence.
Columns of soldiers and officers, military tanks, armored personnel carriers and missile launchers have paraded through the center of the capital.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who is also the army's commander-in-chief, attended the parade.
In his speech, Yushchenko said Ukraine must intensify its work to win membership in the European security system and strengthen the country's defense capabilities.
"Anyone who cares about Ukraine must openly declare that entry into the Euro-Atlantic security system is the only way to protect the lives and ensure the well-being of our families, children and grandchildren," Yushchenko said.
"The nation's security is the first priority of our national interests," the president stressed.
At the same time, Yushchenko reiterated Ukraine's foreign policy is based on good neighborliness, beneficial cooperation and strict observance of international law.
Foreign military attaches and guests were present on the occasion.
Ukraine won independence from the former Soviet Union on Aug. 24, 1991, and that day has been designated as Ukraine's Independence Day.