At the marriage office of Irpin, a town in the suburbs of kyiv heavily marked by the conflict, Ivan Khvatov, 39, and Olessya Khvatova, 41, married on Wednesday on the sly.
Without guest or witness, they presented themselves in jeans-sneakers in front of the civil status officer who quickly united them.
They just exchanged a kiss after signing the register.
“We didn’t say anything to anyone”, explains the newlywed: “first because many people, evacuated at the start of the war, did not return”, “secondly because they could say that this is not is not the time.”
Irpin, at the gates of the capital, found itself on the front line after the entry of troops from Moscow into Ukraine on February 24.
Devastated by the fighting, it was then occupied throughout the month of March by Russian soldiers.
“Many people, especially among our friends, have lost their homes, they might not understand” that we are getting married today, adds Ivan Khvatov, who met Olessya at work, in a glass factory.
“We got to know each other, riding bikes in the park, then we moved in together,” and finally six months ago, “we came to the conclusion that it was time to wear wedding rings.”
The couple were originally scheduled to wed on March 17, but the Russian invasion turned their plans upside down.
Unlike kyiv, where more than 3,800 unions have been formalized since the start of the war, the surrounding marriage offices closed as Russian tanks approached, scattering lovers across Europe.
Olessya had thus taken shelter far from the capital. She recently returned thanks to the Russian withdrawal to southern and eastern Ukraine, and the couple have relaunched their matrimonial plans.
“Life goes on. Despite the war, we all want to continue living,” says the newlywed. “We feel joy, but we hide it!”
– After the darkness –
Conversely, Mykhaïlo Dewberry, 26, and his new wife Anastasia, 20, have decided to show their happiness in broad daylight.
Dressed in a long white dress, her train beaten by the wind, the young woman posed last Saturday alongside her new husband, in an elegant blue suit, in front of the ruins of a charred building in Boutcha, the neighboring town of Irpin.
In this suburb, which has become the symbol of the war crimes attributed to Russian soldiers after the discovery of hundreds of corpses of civilians, a few motorists honked their horns to greet this puzzling photo shoot.
“There have been many tragedies in this place and we want to show that there can also be something new”, “that life has not stopped”, explains the young man.
Adopted by an American evangelical family, Mykhaïlo Dewberry is animated by a deep faith. He actually met Anastasia two years ago at a Christian camp and proposed to her a year ago. Preparations had begun before the war which, for them too, changed everything.
The lovebirds fled the kyiv region during the Russian occupation. “When I got home, I cried, so many people had lost their lives,” says the newlywed. “But God said that out of darkness comes light,” he continues.
For him, the light is called Anastasia and, in front of forty relatives, she said yes to him in their Pentecostal church. “Today, he said with a broad smile, God has created a new family!”