Reality of Ukraine’s wartime Christmas laid bare as Russian bombs fall

Ukraine: Kherson regional administration hit by Russian missile

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Last year friends came to visit Nataliya Fatievieva’s home on Christmas Day and they ate good food and sang songs at the piano. But today, like yesterday and the day before that and every day since the war in Ukraine began, there is a danger that Ms Fatievieva’s friends will be killed on the way to her home.

 

It might have happened if they had tried to meet up yesterday when Vladimir Putin’s troops unleashed a Christmas Eve wave of terror on her city.

Shelling by the Russians killed at least seven people and injured 26. Among the injured was a six-year-old girl, who was reported to be in a serious condition.

So instead the singer and saxophonist has marked the occasion with her friends by talking to them online.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk from her home in Kherson, she said: “We have not been celebrating. Every day we are under bombardment and fighting from the Russian army.”

“Every day there is bad news about broken houses, buildings and deaths.

“We are in the flat and are afraid to go to the street.”

And instead of opening lots of presents today she just had some wishes that she hopes will come true next year.

She said: “The most important prayer to God is that peace comes to Ukraine as soon as possible and that the angels of heaven always keep my relatives.”

 

The 41-year-old added: “I would like to meet a good person for a happy family life and to move with him from Ukraine to another country.

“I really hope that 2023 will bring peace to Ukraine. And I will meet more friends from all the world.”

Last year at Christmas she, her sister and his husband made 12 traditional Ukrainian dishes to feed their guests, in the flat they share with their two cats.

But this year the three of them sat down to a much smaller number of dishes, including Kutia and Borscht.

She said: “Kutia is the most important dish on the table at Christmas.

“The meal begins with it. It can be made from wheat, pearl barley, bulgur, and rice with the addition of sweets.

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She added: “Grain in Kutia symbolizes abundance and eternal life and honey is a symbol of purity and the world of God.

“Borscht is a traditional Ukrainian food, but only lean vegetable borscht.”

Ms Fatievieva desperately wants life to return to like it was before Russia invaded.

But for now, every time she hears a siren or sees the site where one of Putin’s missiles has destroyed a home, she is just grateful to God for keeping her safe.

She said: “I have hope for God’s help. I am thinking God saved me and my family.”

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