Ukrainians celebrate Christmas during war: World in Photos


World in Photos: Christmas in Ukraine

This weekend, countless families around the world will gather to celebrate Christmas — to laugh, to exchange gifts, to feast together and to commemorate, in a sense, the year gone by. And to look forward — with hope and joy and optimism. But in Ukraine, those that can — too many remain outside the country, living as refugees or fighting at the front lines — will be coming together in the shadow of war. Quite literally in many cases, as Russia’s brutal assault continues, with Moscow targeting civilian power lines, plunging ordinary Ukrainians into darkness.

And yet — as these photos show — Ukrainians persist, as they have continued to since the end of February, when Moscow launched its invasion on their country. They continue to resist and, even in the midst of war, mark the holiday season, the Christmas tree in Sofiyska, or Sophia, Square in Kyiv standing tall this winter as a symbol of their determination in the face of a brutal and uncompromising invader.

That is, above all, what these photos illustrate: the resilience of a people who refuse, despite a bloody and relentless Russian campaign, to be cowed or to retreat.

At night, a Christmas tree is lit up in colrful lights. Other street lights are off while people take photos around the tree.
In focus, three people light many candles during a mass.
A kid stares at the back of an old Russian missile being used as the base for a Christmas tree in the street.
A woman places a Christmas tree and ornaments on top of a grave covered in snow, with the picture of a man. Around her, other graves are also snowy. All of the graves have Ukrainian flags.
Three concrete blocks painted bright yellow and stacked on top of each other have two googly eyes and a party hat on top, making it look like a Christmas ornament.
In focus, a couple hugs in front of a Christmas tree lit up in yellow and blue, tall in the middle of a square. Other people gather around the tree as well.