Ukrainian newlyweds Yaryna Arieva and Sviatoslav Fursin decided to take up arms and defend their country just hours after saying, “I do.” Their marriage ceremony wasn’t exactly what they had envisioned months before. They had initially planned to tie the knot on May 6 and celebrate at a restaurant overlooking a beautiful river.
However, when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military assault on Ukraine, their plans quickly changed. Their future suddenly seemed very uncertain, so they wanted to get married while they still could. With the sounds of air raid sirens and bombs exploding in the background, the couple wed in a traditional Ukrainian wedding at Kyiv’s St Michael’s monastery.
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Ukrainian Newlyweds Fight to Defend Their Country
When the ceremony ended, they went to the local Territorial Defense Center and asked how they could help defend their country. Government officials gave them AK-47 assault rifles and other armor to join the fight against the Russian invasion. While this wasn’t their ideal honeymoon, the couple couldn’t just leave during an attack on their country.
In an interview with CNN, Arieva described the situation as “very scary,” an understatement. Russian forces began invading Ukraine on February 24, a few hours before dawn, with missile attacks. Since then, the military has spread into eastern and central Ukraine, attacking significant cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa.
At first, the Russian army only targeted military bases and airfields. However, videos have shown them also striking civilian areas to quell Ukrainian resistance and slow the military’s advancements. Tragically, many innocent people have been injured or lost their lives during the invasion. Some civilians have taken shelter in underground subway stations, which also double as bomb shelters.
Arieva and Fursin don’t regret their decision despite the imminent danger of staying behind. Arieva told CNN that they want to protect their land and the people they love. They hope for peace and the chance to celebrate their marriage someday, but for now, their duty lies with their country.
Ukrainian Newlyweds Display Great Courage
Many people have commended their courage after coming across their pictures on social media. Other Ukrainian citizens have also decided to stay behind and defend their land. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked all men aged eighteen to sixty to help fight Russian forces and protect the country’s freedom.
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However, some opted to flee with their wives and children to neighboring countries such as Poland. Videos have emerged of crowded refugee trains trying to leave the country. While Russian bombs have destroyed some train routes, the trains have transported hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians so far.
Others have packed their cars and driven towards the safety of bordering nations such as Poland, Romania, Hungary, Moldova, and Slovakia. An estimated 520,000 people have fled Ukraine due to the Russian invasion; however, the UN says the conflict could result in over 4 million refugees. The numbers of refugees continue to rise quickly.
The World Stands With Ukraine
President Joe Biden offered Zelenskyy a safe evacuation route out of Ukraine, but he refused. The Ukrainian leader says he won’t leave Kyiv under any circumstances, even though he believes he’s the enemy’s number one target. While he fears for his family’s safety, he will remain in the government quarter. In a televised message, he called on world leaders for help in defending Ukraine from Russian attacks.
In response, President Biden, along with the 27 EU members and G7 members, announced strong sanctions against Russia. Biden also announced that US exports to Russia would be limited.
The sanctions he announced include:
- Limit Russia’s ability to do business in important global currencies such as dollars, euros, pounds, and yen.
- Halt financing and growth of Russian military.
- Impair Russia’s ability to compete in the global economy by limiting exports.
- Impose sanctions on Russian banks that hold over $1 trillion in assets.
He added, “we’re also blocking four more major banks. That means every asset they have in America will be frozen.”
He said the sanctions would severely impact the Russian economy, both immediately and over time. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the Russian invasion a “brutal act of war.” He said that the security alliance would bolster land, sea, and air forces on its eastern flank in response.
Ways That You Can Help Ukraine
If you want to support Ukraine during this crisis, consider donating to the following charities. These organizations provide food, medical supplies, shelter, water, and other necessities.
- Razom for Ukraine. The nonprofit supports Ukrainian citizens by collecting donations for its emergency response. The donations go toward medical supplies, humanitarian aid, and volunteers that help distribute items.
- Global Giving. The charity launched a Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, which will go toward shelter, food, and water for Ukrainian refugees. According to the charity’s website, funds will also go towards health, psychosocial care, education, and economic assistance.
- International Rescue Committee. The organization collects funds for necessary supplies and helps refugees find new housing in the US and abroad.
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations refugee agency, accepts donations to provide health care, legal assistance, and supplies to Ukrainian refugees.
- Airbnb. The online rental company currently offers free, short-term housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine. If you’re an Airbnb host, consider opening your home to support Ukrainian citizens during this difficult time.
Final Thoughts on the Global Efforts to Support Citizens as Inspiring as These Ukrainian Newlyweds
These are terrifying times for Ukrainian citizens as Russian forces have turned their country into a war zone. Hundreds of thousands have fled the country to the safety of neighboring nations. Some Ukrainians, however, stayed behind to defend their country, like newlyweds Yaryna Arieva and Sviatoslav Fursin. Shortly after tying the knot, they went to their local defense center, which supplied them with rifles to support the Ukrainian military. Many have commended their bravery and loyalty to their beautiful country.
Our thoughts and prayers are with anyone affected by the brutal Russian invasion. The world stands with you, Ukraine, and we can only hope that peace will be restored to your home very soon.