Lesya Filimonova & Valeriy Filimonov: Ukrainians get married on the frontlines of war
The bloody and brutal invasion of Ukraine has given the nation, and indeed the world little solace since it began over a week ago. However, every now and then, a truly heartwarming story emerges showing how the human spirit manages to triumph even amidst the ruins and rubble of war. One such story emerged on March 6, 2022, when two civilian soldiers decided to get married in Kyiv.
A few positive stories have emerged from Ukraine over the past week, such as the one from February 25 when a Ukrainian woman told Russian soldiers to put "sunflower seeds in your pocket". A day later, an 80-year-old was snapped enlisting in the army "for his grandkids". Then on February 28, one badass Ukrainian man was filmed casually carrying a landmine away from a road, all while puffing a cigarette.
These stories, along with those of President Volodymyr Zelenksyy, have given comfort that Ukraine will resist. As if we needed any more proof of the Ukrainian spirit, we learned about the wedding of Lesya Filimonova and Valeriy Filimonov in the middle of the conflict in Kyiv.
A wedding amidst a war
On March 6, Filimonova and Filimonov had a wedding neither they, nor millions of others would forget. Both were dressed in military fatigues as they got married at a checkpoint in Kyiv, The Washington Post reported. Jarringly, the wedding was also attended by soldiers, who carried shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades and antitank missiles along with flowers. The wedding was described as "surreal" and attended by a large number of guests, including Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
Speaking about the moment, Klitschko said, "Life continues and the people live and their love helps the war." Even though the city, like much of Ukraine, was devastated by the war, resourceful attendees managed to arrange for caviar and salmon hors d’oeuvres. The arbor, where the two were to become husband and wife, was quickly made from a Ukrainian flag, perhaps the ultimate sign of defiance to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Guests also brought gifts, which amongst other things included a Philips electric kettle and a pressure cooker. As the couple kissed, attendees also shouted "glory to Ukraine" and "death to the enemies!" The crowd also burst into the national anthem, as the wedding was both a symbol of Ukraine's patriotism and culture. But while it was serene and peaceful where they got married, the scars of war were visible all around. While the couple was getting married in Kyiv, several civilians were killed in a mortar attack in the nearby suburb of Irpin.
The two had no plans to join Ukraine's defense forces even a week ago, but all that changed as Russia's brutal invasion gathered pace. Filimonova worked at a scout organization, while Filimonov was the head of an IT company. However, the war quickly changed their priorities. "Here we have everything we love, and we have to defend it. We have no intention of giving it away to the enemy," Filimonova said. She added, "It is hard to call it unconditional happiness in this situation, but we surely feel uplifted."