Ukraine’s president has delivered a touching speech as he vowed to overcome Russia’s “wickedness” and never give up.
On Thursday, ahead of Ukraine’s Orthodox Easter services, President Zelensky revealed that Russia had rejected his proposal for a temporary ceasefire that would last over the holidays.
Instead, the bombing and shelling continued over the weekend in embattled eastern regions including Mariupol where the city’s last surviving defenders and civilians have found themselves trapped in the Avozstal steelworks plant.
On Sunday, in a defiant Easter video address filmed in the old Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, Zelensky prayed for peace as he said Ukraine will not be destroyed by Putin and his forces.
“Today, we still believe in the new victory of Ukraine and we are all convinced that we will not be destroyed by any horde or wickedness,” he said.
“We are overcoming dark times and on this day I – and most of us – are not in bright clothes, but we are fighting for a bright idea.”
Meanwhile, worshippers from around the country visited churches and attended Easter services with traditional Easter baskets by their side.
“We’ll celebrate Easter no matter what, no matter much horror,” 68-year-old Kateryna Lazarenko from the village of Ivanivka said.
“How do I feel? Very nervous, everyone is nervous,” Olena Koptyl, another local who spent a month hiding from the Russians in a basement, expressed.
“The Easter holiday doesn’t bring any joy. I’m crying a lot. We cannot forget how we lived.”
In another small village, some fifty civilians attended the services at their Orthodox church to pray for peace and freedom.
“If we make the wrong choices then darkness will ruin us, as darkness is destroying us during this war,” the priest told the worshippers.
Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine during these challenging times.