Bride In Camouflage Trousers At War Wedding As Life Goes On In Ukraine
Air raid sirens wailed and one of the brides wore camouflage trousers as the Ukrainian army took a break from frontline fighting in the east to hold a double wedding Sunday. Two young couples who met just months earlier while serving in the army tied the knot together Sunday in the small town of Druzhkivka, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from frontline zones where Ukrainian forces are battling Russian invaders. The sun shone and soldiers carried bouquets in a brief interlude from heavy fighting as Russians intensify efforts to push out Kiev's forces in the east. One of the brides, Khrystyna Lyuta, a 23-year-old contract soldier with the rank of private first class, wore camouflage trousers and army boots with a traditional red Ukrainian blouse embroidered with flowers. "I've got used to this uniform," she explained of her choice of outfit. She met her husband Volodymyr Mykhalchuk, 28, just two months ago, when he was mobilised. "War is war, but life goes on," Lyuta explained their decision to marry. The other bride, Kristina, 23, who works in the signals corps, opted for a traditional long white dress with red folk embroidery to marry Vitaliy Orlich, also 23, a sniper. "I believe that this is about creating a new family -- it doesn't matter where it happens or how," she said.
The couples were set to return to serve in the war zone on the same day. Neither couple had family present but they said relatives had been understanding. Kristina said that her husband had spoken to her mother online and "she already calls him a son". The soldiers were from the 14th Separate Mechanised Brigade, which has been fighting Russian-backed forces in Donbas since May. The young couples married in front of a registry office, which had closed due to the war. The couples went through traditional rituals such as stepping together onto an embroidered towel, symbolising togetherness. The brigade's chaplain gave them an Orthodox Christian blessing, flicking holy water and placing crowns on their heads, on the day of a major Church holiday, the Festival of the Holy Trinity. The Priest in a khaki cassock, Yuriy Zdebskiy, told AFP that "it's the first marriage in the brigade in wartime", since Russia launched its invasion on February 24. "Now it's wartime and there's no time for big celebrations," he said.
The infantry brigade's commander, Okhrimenko, has the right to certify marriages under martial law. He said the location for the weddings "was chosen primarily for security reasons". Druzhkivka is about 40 kilometres as the crow flies from three fronts, as Russian troop threaten the towns of Sloviansk to the northeast, Bakhmut to the east and Gorlivka to the southeast. Hours later, AFP reporters heard shelling and saw smoke rising as the two sides exchanged fire close to Bakhmut. Even in relatively untouched Druzhkivka, shelling earlier this month tore apart private houses and crashed through the roof of a Baptist church in one street. During the wedding, air raid sirens went off three times, an AFP reporter heard. (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.
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