Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, who recently returned from a brief trip to Washington where he secured an extra $1.8 billion in military aid, said that Ukrainians will sing Christmas carols “cheerier than before” despite having experienced “a lot of terrible news.”
The president’s remark came after he shared images of the devastation in Kherson on his social media sites on Saturday, which marked ten months since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
He tweeted pictures of burning cars, bodies on the street, and broken building windows, saying, “This is not sensitive content – it’s the real life of Kherson.”
The strikes had resulted in at least 10 fatalities and 68 injuries, according to Kherson Regional Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych’s Telegram post.
After Russian soldiers left Kherson last month and the Ukrainian army regained the city, Yanushevych urged residents to “evacuate” the area where shelling has been particularly strong.
“Dinner at the family table cannot be so tasty and warm. There may be empty chairs around it. And our houses and streets can’t be so bright. And Christmas bells can ring not so loudly and inspiringly through air raid sirens, or even worse — gunshots and explosions,” Zelensky said in the video addressing the nation on Saturday.
“We endured at the beginning of the war,” he added. “We endured attacks, threats, nuclear blackmail, terror, missile strikes. Let’s endure this winter because we know what we are fighting for.”
Zelensky concluded by saying, “We will celebrate our holidays! As always. We will smile and be happy. As always. The difference is one. We will not wait for a miracle. After all, we create it ourselves.”
Christmas has historically been observed in Ukraine on January 7 in accordance with Orthodox Christian traditions.
But since Moscow’s invasion in February, the chasm between the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches has grown wider.
Last month, a division of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church declared that its churches would be permitted to observe Christmas on December 25.
In an effort to turn away from Russia and toward the West, many younger Ukrainians are increasingly choosing to observe the holiday on December 25.