Ukraine: 'There Are No Holidays for the Enemy'

Russian barrage kills four people in Kherson region
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 24, 2023 2:30 PM CST
Ukraine Marks Christmas as Russian Shells Fall
The Rev. Ivan Rybaruk prays with the family of fallen Ukrainian soldier Victor Ivanov at a cemetery during the Christmas celebration Sunday in the Ukrainian village of Kryvorivnia. Ivanov was killed by Russian armed forces near Bakhmut in October 2022.   (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Russian shelling in southern Ukraine's Kherson region killed four people Sunday, including an 87-year-old man and his 81-year-old wife who died after a strike on their apartment building. The barrage injured nine other people, including a 15-year-old, sparked fires in homes and at a private medical facility, and set a local gas pipeline alight, said the head of the regional military administration, Oleksandr Prokudin. "There are no holidays for the enemy," Andrii Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president's office, wrote on social media, per the AP. "They do not exist for us as long as the enemy kills our people and remains on our land."

The shelling across Kherson reached the center of the region's capital city of the same name. The assault took place as Ukraine prepared to officially celebrate Christmas for the first time on Dec. 25, having previously marked the date on Jan. 7. Some Orthodox Ukrainians observed Christmas on Dec. 25 last year in response to Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The Russian Orthodox Church observes the birth of Jesus on Jan. 7. The cathedral in the Monastery of the Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kyiv, held its Christmas celebration on Jan. 7 of this year, but the service was held in the Ukrainian language for the first time in the 31 years of Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union.

To mark Christmas Eve on Dec. 24, President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the nation in a video filmed in front of the floodlit St. Sophia Cathedral in central Kyiv. He reassured Ukrainians fighting against Russia's full-scale invasion that "step by step, day by day, the darkness is losing." Kherson was not the only region of Ukraine to come under attack Sunday. Russian forces launched 15 drone strikes overnight, and 14 of the Iranian-made Shahed drones were destroyed over the Mykolaiv, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhzhya, Dnipropetrovsk, and Khmelnytskyi regions, the Ukrainian air force reported. In Russia, a man was injured in the Bryansk region after a village close to the Ukrainian border came under fire, the region's governor, Alexander Bogomaz, said.

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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