Despite the war, many Ukrainians celebrate Christmas

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Pope Francis blessed Christmas on Sunday, calling for an end to the “senseless war” in Ukraine, as parts of the country celebrate the holiday on December 25, moving away from Russian Orthodox celebrations on January 7. We present the events that took place on December 25.

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  • 15:49: Orthodox celebrate Christmas on December 25 to defy Moscow

Church bells rang, hymns rang out: Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on Sunday, December 25, in protest against the Russian religious authorities, who will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ two weeks later.

According to a poll conducted by “Interfax-Ukraine” in November, 44% of Ukrainians said they liked the idea of ​​celebrating Christmas on December 25, instead of January 7, the Orthodox Christmas date.

  • 1.35pm: Pope Francis calls for an end to ‘senseless war’ in his Christmas blessing

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

He said in front of thousands of worshippers: “Let our eyes be filled with the faces of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who spend this Christmas in the dark, in the cold or far from home,” he declared in front of thousands of worshippers.

  • 11:02: Vladimir Putin said he is ready for talks with all parties involved in the conflict in Ukraine

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

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

  • 10:51: Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on December 25 to avoid Russian religious influence

This year, many Ukrainian families decided to celebrate Christmas on December 25. Traditionally, the Nativity is celebrated on January 7 by the Orthodox majority in Ukraine as well as in Russia. A way to avoid the religious influence of Russia during the war.

“Changing the calendar should allow us to confirm our own civilization,” said Vasyl Kolodiy, priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “It’s a fight between the civilized world and the less civilized world.”

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

French Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu will visit Ukraine on December 28 to show France’s continued support, the French Armed Forces Ministry told AFP.

“He will pay tribute to the memory of the fallen, especially at the Heroes’ Monument in Kyiv, and will meet with his Ukrainian colleague Alexiy Reznikov,” said the same source.

  • 10:01: China’s foreign minister announced strengthening ties with Russia

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi defended his country’s position on the war in Ukraine and said that Beijing will strengthen relations with Moscow next year.

He said in his video message that China will “increase strategic mutual trust and cooperation” with Russia.

  • 9:38: Increasing the tax rate for Russians leaving the country?

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, said parliamentarians were preparing legislation to impose higher taxes on those leaving Russia, as many have done since the war began on February 24.

Vyacheslav Volodin wrote on the Telegram messaging app: “It is legal to suspend benefits for those leaving the Russian Federation and introduce a higher tax rate.”

At the beginning of October, some local media reported that 700,000 Russians left the country after the partial mobilization to participate in the war in Ukraine was announced in September.

  • 07:51: The President of Ukraine called on his people to be patient in the face of Russian attacks

“We will not wait for a miracle. After all, we create it ourselves.” These words were said by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in his speech on Christmas Eve, ten months after the start of the war in Ukraine.

He said that “if the price of freedom was high, slavery would be even more expensive.” Before continuing: “We have overcome the beginning of war. We have resisted attacks, threats, nuclear blackmail, terrorism, missile attacks. We will get through this winter because we know what we are fighting for.”

  • 7:21: Pope condemns ‘greed’ and ‘thirst for power’ during Christmas Mass

During the traditional Christmas Mass, Pope Francis on Saturday condemned the greed and thirst for power that makes some “want to swallow their neighbors,” a reference to the war in Ukraine and other conflicts around the world.

While the Argentine Jesuit tirelessly pleads for peace, he has also tried to maintain a delicate dialogue with Moscow, which has earned him some criticism for not taking a clearer stance on the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • 04:41: Three emergency service workers were killed during a demining operation in Kherson region

Three employees of Ukraine’s emergency services were killed when a mine exploded while taking part in demining operations in the Kherson region on Saturday.

“All three worked selflessly in the emergency services of the Zhytomir region and cleared the liberated areas in the Kherson region,” the emergency services of the Zhytomir region wrote on their Facebook page.

With AFP and Reuters

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