Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to “return freedom” to Ukraine in a defiant Christmas message. In an address to the nation to mark Christmas Eve, the Ukrainian President urged his compatriots to persevere through a tough winter.
Zelensky said: “Tears will be replaced by joy, despair will be followed by hope, and death will be conquered by life.
“We will celebrate our holidays! As always. We will smile and be happy.
“As always. The difference is one: we will not wait for a miracle, we create it ourselves.”
The festive period is being used as a way to further distinguish Ukraine from its Russian invaders, according to MailOnline.
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Orthodox Christians in both nations have historically celebrated Christmas on January 7.
However, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has opted to allow parishes to celebrate Christmas on December 25 in a move which will bring Kyiv in line with most of the Western world.
The 44-year-old added: “Today and all future winter holidays, we meet in difficult circumstances.
“Someone will celebrate the holiday in other people’s homes, but strange people’s homes – homes… who gave shelter to Ukrainians.
“And we will understand the truth. One for all.”
The statement came just hours after Mr Zelensky condemned Russia for its “terror” following an artillery attack which left at least 10 people and 55 injured in Kherson.
Kherson remains a key battleground in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine despite Vladimir Putin’s troops retreating from the southern port city in November.