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“Who Knows What Will Happen Tomorrow?” Ukrainian Soldiers Tie The Knot.

The bride wore camouflage, combat boots, and a veil.

The Ukrainian couple walked down a makeshift dirt aisle lined with exhausted soldiers in the middle of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In spite of the turmoil they were currently experiencing from all sides, love was all that mattered for just a few brief, shining moments on the front lines.

More than 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled the violence of war in their homeland, and still more citizens have taken up arms to fight for their country. Lesia Ivashchenko is in the latter group.

When the war started, Lesia left her job and joined the defensive forces outside of Kyiv. Her long-term partner, Valerii Fylymonov, 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 after 22 years as a couple.

“I’m happy that we are alive, that this day started, that my husband is alive, and he is with me,” said Lesia. “We decided who knows what will happen tomorrow. We should get married in front of the state, in front of God.”

During the ceremony 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.

“I expected to have a very modest ceremony. I thought we’ll just will say ‘yes” to each other,” Lesia recalled. “It was a surprise from my brothers in arms and our commanders that they decided to set it (the marriage ceremony) up to show that, despite everything, we believe in the future and life is going on.”

A few special guests even showed up to wish Lesia and Valerii well. Vitali Klitschko, who is the mayor of Kyiv, made an appearance with 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.

“We are determined to push back the enemy and take back our lands and win,” said the bride.

This is what sacrificial heroism looks like. Congratulations to the happy couple! We send our wishes for peace and happiness, not just for Lesia and Valerii, but for everyone in this troubled region.

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