SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – A tattered flag flown on the Ukrainian parliament building shortly after the nation gained its independence in the early 1990’s is now flying on Sullivan’s Island.

The flag was given to Jon Gundersen, the first acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, when he left his post. When the wear and tear started to show, Gundersen put the flag away. This week, he decided to put it back up, despite its condition, calling it a symbol of Ukraine today.

“Ukraine has been invaded — illegally, immorally. They’re fighting against the Russian invaders. And I thought a tattered flag would symbolize Ukraine today.”

The fortitude of Ukrainian forces — and regular people — has surprised the world. Up against one of the largest military forces in the world, Ukrainians have held off the Russian invasion in most major cities. Gundersen says that he believes the country will prevail.

“The Russians have made many mistakes,” he said. “In Putin’s mind, Ukraine was part of Russia… well they’re not.” Gundersen said that an innate sense of Ukrainian history and culture is one of the country’s greatest strengths.

“Before Russia, there was Ukraine… Ukrainians always had a sense of identity, even under Soviet rule.”

Gundersen said that the coalescence of the west is critical for combatting Russia. Although he acknowledged Russian president Vladimir Putin has for the most part shunned outside opinions, unified pressure from the global community could be too detrimental to ignore — especially if it inspires the Russian populous to take a stand against their leader.

While Gundersen said trying to predict the future is a fool’s errand, he said that he is an optimist, and he is “looking forward to the day [he] can put [up] a… new Ukrainian flag to symbolize an independent, sovereign Ukraine.”