A Ukrainian couple who have been together for 22 years and have joined in the defense of their country against invading Russian forces were married on the front line, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
Lesia Ivashchenko left her job when the war with Russia started last month and joined territorial defense forces to defend her district on the outskirts of Kyiv.
She had not seen her partner, Valerii Fylymonov, since the beginning of the Russian invasion until Sunday, when the pair officially tied the knot.
“It is very sad that this (the Russian invasion) happened to us, that our family cannot be together,” she said after the wedding ceremony that was organized right on the front line in Kyiv, she told the AP.
Ukrainian couple: We married because who knows what will happen tomorrow
“I’m happy that we are alive, that this day started, that my husband is alive, and he is with me.
“We decided who knows what will happen tomorrow. We should get married in front of the state, in front of God.
“And we have an adult daughter, and I think she’s happy that we finally did it.”
“I expected to have a very modest ceremony. I thought we’ll just will say ‘yes” to each other.”
“It was a surprise from my brothers in arms and our commanders that they decided to set it (the marriage ceremony) up to show that, despite everything, we believe in the future and life is going on.
“We are determined to push back the enemy and take back our lands and win.”
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother, fellow boxer Wladimir, came to congratulate the newlyweds, according to the AP report.
Ukraine warns that Russia is about to storm Kyiv
The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said in a Monday bulletin that Russian troops were preparing to storm Kyiv.
The statement said that Russian troops were aiming to take full control of Irpin and Bucha, two cities on the outskirts of Kyiv.
Russian troops were “trying to provide a tactical advantage to reach the eastern outskirts of Kyiv through the Brovarsky and Boryspil districts,” according to the bulletin.
Interior Ministry advisor Vadym Denysenko said on Ukrainian television that a “fairly large amount of Russian military equipment and Russian troops are concentrated at the approaches to Kyiv,” as cited by Ukrayinska Pravda.
“We understand that the battle for Kyiv is a key battle which will be fought in the coming days.”