The Ukrainian people, for the first time, are celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 this year, as the war-torn country continues to distance itself from Russia and embraces traditions of the west.
The shift marks a further separation from Russia, which celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7. Christmas was moved to Dec. 25 in Ukraine, after President Volodymyr Zelensky signed legislation this summer making Dec. 25 a public holiday.
In a statement posted Dec. 24 to X, formerly Twitter, Zelensky noted the spiritual significance of celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 for many Ukrainians, as the country approaches nearly two years since Russia launched its invasion.
“Today, all Ukrainians are together. We all meet Christmas together. One the same date, as one big family, as one nation, as one united country. And today our common prayer will be stronger than ever,” Zelensky said in a lengthy video on X, according to the translated captions.
“Today, it will unite millions of voices – more than ever before. And it will resonate today without a time difference of two weeks. Resonate together with Europe and the world,” Zelensky said, adding, “In troubled times, as we defend our land and our souls, we are making our way to freedom. The way to gaining comprehensive independence, including spiritual one.”
Ukrainian Amb. Oksana Markarova, in an interview on Sunday on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart” that she felt united with the rest of the world because, for the first time, they would all be celebrating the holiday at the same time.
“I have to tell you, today, on … Christmas Eve, when for the first time Ukrainians celebrate with the U.S. and with the rest of the world, you know, Ukrainian Christians for the first time will celebrate Christmas right now in December, by the decision of both of our churches and supported by the civilian administration, of course. We believe that we will stay together,” she said.
Ukraine has been fighting a war against Russia since February 2022, when Russia launched a massive invasion of the country. In recent weeks, the U.S. Congress has struggled to pass funding for Ukraine, as concerns mount about Ukraine’s declining supply of ammunition.
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