A Ukrainian couple, Lesia Ivashchenko and Valerii Fylymonov, walked down a dirt aisle lined with exhausted soldiers in the middle of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to, Facebook blog, @PrayforUkrainians, during the ceremony, held some weeks ago, one soldier produced a traditional Ukrainian instrument called a bandura and sang to the newlyweds. They drank champagne from glass flutes, and, for just a few minutes, everyone could forget about the traumatic scenes playing out nearby and focus on something joyful.
Instead of a wedding dress and a formal suit, the couple wore camouflage, combat boots, and the bride held a beautiful bouquet of flowers and wore a white veil. Spouses Lesia and Valerii, have been dating for 22 years.
When the war started, Lesia left her job and joined the defensive forces outside Kyiv and her long-term partner, Valerii, is also fighting in a different battalion. They hadn’t seen each other in weeks, so when chance brought them together for a few days they seized the opportunity to get married.
"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," Lesia is quoted as saying.
A few special guests even showed up to wish Lesia and Valerii well including Vitali Klitschko, who is the mayor of Kyiv, and his boxer brother, Wladimir Klitschko.
Lesia says she’s sad their family, especially their adult daughter, could not be with them on their happy day, but they are determined to win their fight for independence.
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