Despite the war, many Ukrainians celebrate Christmas

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Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to the “senseless war” in Ukraine in his blessing on Christmas, as part of the country celebrates the holiday on December 25 to distance itself from Russian Orthodox celebrations, which will take place on January 7. Here is the event thread for the day of December 25th.

This page is no longer updated. All of our information about the war in Ukraine can be found here.

  • 15:49: The Orthodox celebrate Christmas Sunday, December 25 to challenge Moscow

Church bells rang, religious songs soared in the sky: Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on Sunday December 25, a sign of defiance of the religious authorities of Russia, which will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in two weeks.

According to an Interfax-Ukraine poll conducted in November, 44% of Ukrainians said they approved of the idea of ​​celebrating Christmas on December 25 rather than January 7, the Orthodox date of Christmas.

Ukrainian congregation celebrates Christmas on December 25, 2022 at an Orthodox church in Kyiv © Genya Savilov, AFP

  • 1:35 p.m.: Pope Francis calls for an end to the ‘senseless wars’ in his Christmas blessing

During his traditional Christmas message in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Pope Francis called on Sunday for a “silence of arms” in Ukraine, in the grip of “senseless war”.

“May our eyes be filled with the faces of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who live this Christmas in the dark, in the cold or away from home, because of the devastation caused by the ten months of war”, he said in front of thousands of people. devotee

  • 11:02 a.m.: Vladimir Putin says he is ready to negotiate with all parties involved in the conflict in Ukraine

Russia is ready to negotiate with all parties to the conflict in Ukraine, but Kyiv and its Western backers have refused to engage in talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

“We are ready to negotiate with all parties involved (…) but it depends on them – it is not us who refuse to negotiate, but them”, he said in an interview with state television.

  • 10:51 a.m.: Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on December 25 to escape the influence of Russian religion

This year, many Ukrainian families have decided to celebrate Christmas on December 25. Traditionally, the Nativity is celebrated on January 7 by the Orthodox majority in Ukraine, as in Russia. A way to get away from the influence of Russian religion, in the context of war.

“The calendar change should allow us to reassert our own civilization,” confirmed Vasyl Kolodiy, pastor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “This is a battle between the civilized world and the less civilized world.”

  • 10:26 am: Minister of the French Armed Forces in Ukraine next week

French Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu will travel to Ukraine on December 28 to demonstrate France’s continued support, AFP learned from the French Armed Forces Ministry.

“He will especially pay tribute to the dead at the Heroes monument in Kyiv and will meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksiy Reznikov,” said the same source.

  • 10:01 am: China’s Foreign Minister announces strengthening ties with Russia

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi defended his country’s stance on the war in Ukraine, saying Beijing would strengthen ties with Moscow in the coming year.

China will “enhance mutual trust and strategic cooperation” with Russia, he said in a video address.

  • 9:38 am: increased tax rate for Russians who have left the country?

Vyacheslav Volodin, spokesman for the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, said lawmakers were preparing legislation to impose higher taxes on people leaving Russia, as many have done since the start of the war on February 24.

“It is lawful to end the benefits for those leaving the Russian Federation and introduce higher tax rates,” wrote Vyacheslav Volodin on the messaging app Telegram.

In early October, some local media reported that 700,000 Russians had left the country after a partial mobilization was announced in September to take part in the war in Ukraine.

  • 07:51: President of Ukraine calls on his people to stand firm in the face of Russian attacks

“We’re not going to wait for a miracle. After all, we created it ourselves.” These were the words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a speech delivered on Saturday, on Christmas Eve, ten months after the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

He said that “if freedom had a high price, slavery would cost even more.” Before continuing: “We overcame the beginning of the war. We fought attacks, threats, nuclear blackmail, terror, missile attacks. We will overcome this winter because we know what we are fighting for” .

  • 7:21 a.m.: pope denounces “greed” and “lust for power” during Christmas mass

During a traditional Christmas mass, Pope Francis on Saturday denounced greed and the thirst for power, which makes some people want to “devour their neighbors”, an indirect allusion to the war in Ukraine and other conflicts in the world.

If the Argentine Jesuit has tirelessly pleaded for peace, he has also tried to maintain a smooth dialogue with Moscow, which has earned him criticism for not taking a clearer position on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies.

  • 04:41: three members of the emergency services died during a mine clearance operation in the Kherson region

Three members of Ukraine’s emergency services died in a mine explosion on Saturday while they were taking part in a mine operation in the Kherson region, the regional service they worked for announced.

“All three of them are selflessly working for the emergency services of the Zhytomyr region and cleaning the liberated areas of the Kherson region,” the emergency services of the Zhytomyr region posted on their Facebook page.

With AFP and Reuters

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