The year 2023 was another year defined by heartbreak and resilience for millions of Ukrainians as Russia continued its brutal war against Ukraine.
The onset saw a massive Russian
strike on a residential building in Dnipro that killed 46 people. Then there was a Kakhovka Dam destruction, which evidence suggests Russian forces blew up from within, displacing thousands and sending shockwaves across the entire nation.
This year, among many others, Ukraine paid tribute to
Dmytro Kotsiubailo, also known as "Da Vinci," a prominent Ukrainian commander who lost his life on the battlefield near Bakhmut.
Yet, amid the darkness, there were glimpses of joy, relief, triumph, and the enduring belief that Ukraine would persevere through any adversity.
The installment of the coat of arms of Ukraine on the shield of the Motherland Monument in Kyiv, sports victories on the international stage, and the unifying efforts to commemorate our history and promote the culture.
The Kyiv Independent looks back at some of the most memorable moments for Ukrainians in 2023 in photos.
Emergency service workers extinguish a fire after shelling on the Bakhmut front line in Ivanivske, Donetsk Oblast, on Jan. 2, 2023. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) A rescuer climbs a ladder of a fire engine to one of the damaged apartments after a missile strike on Jan. 14, 2023, in Dnipro. Russia's Х-22 cruise missiles fired from a TU-22M3 strategic bomber hit a nine-story residential building in Dnipro, completely destroying one of the sections from top to bottom floors. (Yurii Stefanyak/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images) People use a subway station as a bomb shelter during a massive Russian missile attack in Kyiv on Jan. 26, 2023. (Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images) U.S. President Joe Biden (L) walks next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky past a religious mural at the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral, as he arrives for a visit in Kyiv on Feb. 20, 2023. Biden made a surprise trip to Kyiv ahead of the first anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (bottom right), pays his respects at the funeral of fallen Ukrainian military commander Dmytro Kotsiubailo, also known as "Da Vinci" at the Independence Square in Kyiv on March 10, 2023. (Andrew Kravchenko/Bloomberg via Getty Images) A colorful sunset over military graves in the Kharkiv cemetery 18 on March 15, 2023. The military section of this large cemetery is almost full as many fallen soldiers come from Kharkiv. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) Left: Members of the clergy hold candles with Easter fire walk in the Cathedral of St. Alexander to attend the Easter Vigil mass on April 8, 2023, in Kyiv. (Roman Pilipey/Getty Images). Right: Members of the clergy and people attend Easter Mass during the Holy Sunday in Lviv on April 9, 2023. (Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) A soldier of the Ukrainian Armed Forces embraces his partner at a train station in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, on April 9, 2023. The railway station in Kramatorsk has already become a regular meeting place for Ukrainian soldiers and their loved ones. Despite the continuous shelling in the east of Ukraine and beyond, soldiers often find a few days, or even hours, to see their families and/or friends, meeting at the train station in Kramatorsk. (Mykhaylo Palinchak/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) People dance during the Orthodox Easter celebrations in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, on April 16, 2023. Easter is the most sacred holiday in the Orthodox calendar. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated Ukraine's Orthodox believers saying "We celebrate the Easter holiday with unshakable faith in our victory." (Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP via Getty Images) An elderly woman walks through a trench at a park on May 6, 2023, in Kyiv. Parts of the park had been fortified by Ukrainian troops defending the capital at the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion. Russia launched its assault on Ukraine last year hoping to quickly seize its capital. Instead, its Kyiv offensive met stiff resistance, and by early April 2022, it was forced to withdraw from the region. A year later, the threat of aerial attacks remains in and around Kyiv, but the ground war has largely concentrated in the east and south. (Roman Pilipey/Getty Images) A view from the roof of a residential building in a flooded area of Kherson on June 7, 2023. As a result of Russia's destruction of the Kakhovka Dam, massive swaths of land in the south of Ukraine were flooded. (Yan Dobronosov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images) Left: A volunteer carries a dog during an evacuation from a flooded area in Kherson on June 8, 2023, following Russia's destruction of the Kakhovka Dam. (Genya Savilov/AFP) Right: Ukrainian security forces transport local residents in a boat during an evacuation from a flooded area in Kherson on June 7, 2023. ( Oleksii Filippov/AFP via Getty Images) Pedestrians wearing military uniforms walk past flags bearing symbols and colors of Ukraine that commemorate fallen Ukrainian soldiers at Independence Square in Kyiv on Oct. 23, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Roman Pilipey/AFP via Getty Images) Relatives and friends attend the funeral service for six-year-old Sophia Holynska, who was killed by a Russian missile strike on a drama theater, at Trinity Monastery in Chernihiv, on Aug. 22, 2023. (Roman Pilipey/AFP via Getty Images) KYIV, UKRAINE – AUGUST 29: Relatives stand by coffin of the fallen Ukrainian pilot of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Andrii Pilshchykov, known by his call sign "Juice", during the farewell ceremony in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ UGCC on August 29, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Andriy Pilshchykov, advocate of F-16s for Ukraine, died on August 25 after two training planes came down west of Kyiv. (Dmytro Larin /Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images) Ukrainian military practice flying drones at night using thermal vision on May 11, 2023, in Lviv Oblast. The school is funded by KOLO, a Ukrainian foundation running a pilot school of drones and UAVs for the military. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) Left: An aerial view of the city of Bakhmut completely destroyed by heavy battles on Sept. 27, 2023, in Donetsk Oblast. (Libkos/Getty Images). Right: A soldier of the Ukrainian army fires a mortar on Nov. 1, 2023, in Kupiansk, Kharkiv Oblast. Both towns have been cites of heavy fighting in 2023. (Kostya Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images) Ukrainian serviceman Andriy, 20, with an amputated leg, rests after climbing Mount Kliuch, 927-meters-high, near the village of Trukhaniv, Lviv Oblast, on Sept. 16, 2023. (Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP via Getty Images) Ukrainian cadets march during a ceremony for taking the military oath at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II, in Kyiv, on Sept. 8, 2023. (Roman Pilipey/AFP via Getty Images) This aerial view taken on Aug. 6, 2023, shows steeplejacks installing the coat of arms of Ukraine on the shield of the 62-meter Motherland Monument in Kyiv, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian trident replaced the coat of arms of the former Soviet Union, which was removed earlier in August 2023. (Roman Pilipey/AFP via Getty Images) Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in action during the Women's Singles fourth round match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon on July 9, 2023 in London. (Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images) Yaroslava Mahuchikh of Ukraine competes in the Women's High Jump during the 2023 Prefontaine Classic and Wanda Diamond League Final at Hayward Field on Sept. 17, 2023, in Eugene, Oregon. (Ali Gradischer/Getty Images) Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, attends the ceremony celebrating the 32nd anniversary of Ukraine’s independence on Sofiiska Square on Aug. 24, 2023, in Kyiv. The Ukrainian military and the country’s political leadership gathered on Sofiiska Square in Kyiv. The ceremony was also attended by the President of Lithuania, Gitanas Nauseda, the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željko Komšić, and the Prime Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Støre. (Valentyna Polishchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images) Hasidic Jews are seen celebrating their pilgrimage event for the second day of 2023, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year in Uman, Cherkasy Oblast, on Sept. 17, 2023. (Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers his remarks during the 78th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, United States, on Sept. 19, 2023. (Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Left: Portrait of a Ukrainian soldier as the special unit "Achilles" is preparing to carry out a combat mission at night using the Vampire drone on Nov. 12, 2023, in the Bakhmut District, Donetsk Oblast. Right: The Ukrainian military fires RPGs at enemy positions as the special military unit "Kurt & Company group" holds the first line of the front line on Nov. 3, 2023, in Bakhmut District, Donetsk Oblast. (Kostya Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images) This photograph taken on Nov. 4, 2023, shows a pile of books inside the damaged House of Culture in Posad-Pokrovske, a village in partially-occupied Kherson Oblast. (Roman Pilipey/AFP via Getty Images) A group of children and adults hold candles as they pay tribute to the victims of the famine of 1932-1933, at the National Museum of the Holodomor Genocide in Kyiv, on Nov. 25, 2023. Ukraine marked 90 years since the artificial famine caused by the policies ordered by Joseph Stalin that killed millions of Ukrainians. (Roman Pilipey/AFP via Getty Images) Girls and boys enjoy the snow during exercises at the Christmas tree outside the house of the Podilskyi Magician at Podilskyi Zoo, Vinnytsia, west-central Ukraine, on Dec. 6, 2023. (Oleksandr Lapin/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Christmas on the front line (PHOTOS)
Amidst Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine, numerous Ukrainian men and women are spending Christmas on the front lines, far from their homes and loved ones. Many of them, previously having civilian lives, are now adapting to the challenges of serving in the military. Valentyn Kuzan, a ph…