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Christmas on the front line (PHOTOS)

by Valentyn Kuzan and Irynka Hromotska December 25, 2023 1:53 PM 3 min read
Chaplain Ivan gathers around the table with the servicemen of the 72nd Mechanized Brigade and lights candles before the Christmas dinner prayer near the front line in Donetsk Oblast on Dec. 24, 2023. (Valentyn Kuzan/72nd Mechanized Brigade)
by Valentyn Kuzan and Irynka Hromotska December 25, 2023 1:53 PM 3 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

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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 photographer newly enlisted in the 72nd Mechanized Brigade, offers insight into this reality. He has joined Chaplain Ivan while he visited soldiers along the front line in Donetsk Oblast on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

Christmas dishes. In Ukrainian tradition, Christmas supper consists of 12 dishes, symbolizing the apostles or the months of the year. (Valentyn Kuzan/72nd Mechanized Brigade)
Chaplain Ivan leads the Christmas supper prayer, followed by the carol "Dobryi vechir tobi (ukr.) - Good Evening To You." A carol that greets the owners of the household with the birth of Jesus, and expresses wishes for happiness, health, and a great harvest season in the new year. (Valentyn Kuzan/72nd Mechanized Brigade)
Servicemen share Kutia, the essential traditional dish for Ukrainian Christmas Eve supper. It is a sweet grain dish with honey, poppy seeds, nuts, and raisins. (Valentyn Kuzan/72nd Mechanized Brigade)
Mykola is the chef at the 72nd Mechanized Brigade, he was living a civilian life before joining the army. (Valentyn Kuzan/72nd Mechanized Brigade)

Valentyn Kuzan has recently joined the 72nd Mechanized Brigade and is now working with the press service of the brigade.

‘The time is right for change’: More Ukrainians celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 this year
Ukrainian author Yevheniia Zavalii started celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 back in 2014, “when the rejection of everything Russian” began in her life. Undeterred by criticism from some people that she was breaking away from the traditions of her ancestors and the church, Zavalii stood by her dec…
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