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Photos show how Ukrainians are fighting to keep the Christmas spirit alive

A tall tree lights up in blue and yellow in the middle of a busy town square.A general view shows a Christmas tree, at Sofiyska Square in Kyiv, Ukraine December 19, 2022.

REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

  • Photos show what the festive season looks like in war-torn Ukraine.
  • Christmas lights illuminate cities when there is enough electricity to power them.
  • As well as Christmas gifts for themselves, children ask for anti-aircraft defense systems and victory for Ukraine. 

The Christmas spirit lives on in Ukraine despite more than 300 days of war with Russia. 

Although there are frequent blackouts across the country due to Russian bombing, Christmas lights illuminate cities when there is enough electricity to power them.

Even while huddled in bomb shelters, people attempt to bring some festive cheer. 

The Ukrainian Christmas spirit has also spread worldwide. In many nations, solidarity with Ukraine has been expressed with dedicated prayers, seasonal aid deliveries, and the dimming of Christmas lights.


Christmas in a bomb shelterAn older woman wearing warming layers of clothings smiles at the camera. In front of her is a small tabletop pine tree in a pot, bare of decorations, a thermometer, and fruit placed on a bare table.An elderly woman smiles standing beside a Christmas tree in an apartment house basement used as a bomb shelter in Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.


An elderly woman in her apartment complex bomb shelter in Avdiivka in the Donetsk region stands beside her small Christmas tree.

The fighting near Avdiivka, a town on the front line in eastern Ukraine, has been intense, with Russian forces trying to encircle it, the BBC reports.


Fighting to stay warmA man is hunched over a wood stove in a starkly decorated, dark basement.A man checks the wood stove in an apartment house basement that local residents use as a bomb shelter in Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.


In the same apartment basement, a man checks on the wood-burning stove that keeps him and his fellow bomb shelterers warm. 

Ukraine’s electricity crisis is dangerous and could cost many lives, a top WHO official said. 


Solidarity across EuropeA tree near a busy road has its lights turned off.A Christmas tree with turned-off illumination is seen during an Hour for Ukraine in Tychy, Poland, on December 21, 2022.

Jakub Porzycki/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

This Christmas tree in Tychy, Poland, has had its lights switched off to show solidarity with the Ukrainians plunged into darkness this winter. 

Many European cities joined in the show of Christmas solidarity with Ukrainians under siege, during an Hour for Ukraine on December 21.



Christmas away from homeAdults and children sat around a table raise a glass in a crowded restaurant brightly decorated with christmas decorationUkrainian refugee Marija Berezhko presents her handmade gift during a Christmas meal at a restaurant in Warsaw, Poland December 18, 2022.

REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

With the UN reporting that over 7.8 million refugees have fled Ukraine, many Ukrainians are celebrating the festive season away from home. 

Pictured in Warsaw, Poland, Marija Berezhko gives a handmade gift to her loved ones during a festive meal at a restaurant. 

Poland has received over 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine, according to UN data. 

Christmas joy sent from around the worldA volunteer holds up a card showing a star. She is surrounded by cardboard boxes, the ones in front of her are filled with items.Retiree and volunteer Doris Fechler holds a Ukrainian-language Christmas card before placing it in a food aid package destined for Ukraine at the grassroots aid organization Ukraine Hilfe Lobetal on December 20, 2022, in Lobetal, Germany.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

International volunteers are working hard to ensure that Ukrainians, in their dangerous and bitterly cold winter, still can enjoy the Christmas season. 


A time to rememberA wreath hangs below black and white images lined up on racks in front of a maroon wall. Blue and yellow ribbons are tied to the racks.Relatives of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred decorate the memorial to those who died during the Revolution of Dignity for the New Year and Christmas holidays in Lviv, Ukraine December 20, 2022.

Pavlo Palamarchuk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Since the start of the war, over 13,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed, the BBC reports.

In addition to this, almost 7,000 civilians have died, according to UN data. 

Christmas is also now a time of remembrance and mourning for family members that won’t be present at the festivities.

This photo shows a memorial for people who died in violent protests against the then-Ukrainian government forming closer ties with Russia in 2014. 

The protests marked the start of the wars between Ukraine and Russia.

Ukrainian children ask for unusual presentsA woman in colourful garb speaks to children wrapped up in winter clothing. They are outside on a bright day, the ground is covered in thick snow. There is a gate made of cobbled stones in the background.On St. Nicholas’ Day, despite the war and power outages, children have some fairy tale and visit “St. Nicholas’ Hut” in the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life in Lviv, Ukraine on December 19, 2022.

Olena Znak/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Children gather around a storyteller at “St. Nicholas’ Hut” in the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life in Lviv, Ukraine, listening to the traditional story of St Nicholas, the religious inspiration for Santa Claus and Father Christmas, on December 19. 

As well as gifts for themselves, the children asked St Nicholas for anti-aircraft defense systems, peace, and victory for Ukraine said the photographer who took the image.

Hope remains amid the shellingsTwo men in winter clothing take a selfie at night among a crowd around a colourful tree-shaped display lit up in blue and yellow on a outdoor town square at night.People take photos with the mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klichko near the Christmas tree at the Sofiyska Square, December 19, 2022

Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

War and fear in Ukraine are now a part of daily life, but they will not let it dampen the Christmas spirit. 

Hours after Russia launched a “kamikaze” drone attack hitting key infrastructure in and around Kyiv, Mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klichko and his fellow Ukrainians gathered around the Sofiyska Square Christmas tree. 

A semblance of hope and joy as Ukrainians do what they can to bring in the festive season. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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