Russian shelling kills 4 as Ukraine prepares to observe Christmas on Dec. 25 for the first time

by Madison Thomas
Ukraine Christmas Tragedy

Russian artillery fire in the southern Kherson region of Ukraine resulted in the tragic loss of four lives on Sunday. Among the victims were an elderly couple, an 87-year-old man, and his 81-year-old wife, who tragically perished when their apartment building was struck. This relentless barrage of shelling also inflicted injuries upon nine other individuals, including a 15-year-old, while causing extensive property damage. Notably, fires erupted within homes and at a private medical facility, and a local gas pipeline was ignited, according to Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of the regional military administration.

In response to this grim incident, Andrii Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, made a somber statement on social media, emphasizing, “There are no holidays for the enemy. They do not exist for us as long as the enemy kills our people and remains on our land.”

The shelling extended to the heart of Kherson, the capital city of the region, as the assault unfolded. This distressing event occurred as Ukraine was poised to observe Christmas on December 25 for the first time officially, as opposed to the previous practice of celebrating it on January 7.

It is worth noting that some Orthodox Ukrainians had already shifted their Christmas observance to December 25 in the prior year, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Russian Orthodox Church, on the other hand, maintains the tradition of celebrating the birth of Jesus on January 7.

This year, the Monastery of the Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kyiv, celebrated Christmas on January 7, but notably, the service was conducted in the Ukrainian language for the first time in the 31 years since Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took a significant step by signing legislation in July, officially moving the public Christmas Day holiday to December 25. However, it’s worth mentioning that one of Ukraine’s competing Orthodox church organizations still adheres to the January date dictated by the Julian calendar. In a poignant video address in front of the illuminated St. Sophia Cathedral in central Kyiv on December 24, President Zelenskyy assured the Ukrainian people engaged in the ongoing struggle against Russia’s full-scale invasion that “step by step, day by day, the darkness is losing.”

He went on to emphasize, “Today, this is our common goal, our common dream. And this is precisely what our common prayer is for today. For our freedom. For our victory. For our Ukraine.”

It is essential to recognize that the unfortunate events in Kherson were not isolated. On the same day, Russian forces launched 15 drone strikes overnight, with 14 of the Iranian-made Shahed drones being intercepted and destroyed over various Ukrainian regions, including Mykolaiv, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhzhya, Dnipropetrovsk, and Khmelnytskyi, as reported by the Ukrainian air force. Furthermore, two individuals sustained injuries during Russian shelling that targeted 20 towns and villages across Ukraine’s northern Kharkiv region, according to Governor Oleh Syniehubov.

In neighboring Russia, an individual was injured in the Bryansk region as a village close to the Ukrainian border came under fire, as reported by the region’s governor, Alexander Bogomaz.

The situation on the ground remains deeply concerning, with ongoing hostilities and the loss of innocent lives underscoring the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

For more comprehensive coverage of the war in Ukraine, you can follow AP’s reporting at https://bigbignews.net/russia-ukraine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ukraine Christmas Tragedy

What were the casualties in the Russian shelling in Kherson?

Four people lost their lives, including an elderly couple, and nine others were injured, with property damage and fires reported.

Why did Ukraine decide to officially celebrate Christmas on December 25?

Ukraine made this decision in response to Russia’s invasion in February 2022. President Zelenskyy signed legislation to move the holiday to December 25.

How did the Monastery of the Caves in Kyiv mark Christmas this year?

The Monastery celebrated Christmas on January 7, but notably, the service was conducted in the Ukrainian language for the first time in 31 years of independence.

What was President Zelenskyy’s message in his December 24 address?

He reassured Ukrainians that “step by step, day by day, the darkness is losing” in the ongoing conflict and emphasized unity and the common goal for Ukraine’s freedom and victory.

Were there other incidents of shelling on the same day in Ukraine?

Yes, Russian forces launched 15 drone strikes, with 14 drones intercepted over various regions, and there were injuries in shelling across northern Kharkiv region.

How is the conflict in Ukraine being covered by the media?

For comprehensive coverage, you can follow AP’s reporting on the war in Ukraine at https://bigbignews.net/russia-ukraine.

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