Ukraine celebrates third Easter after Russian drone attack

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Russia has launched a barrage of drones in eastern Ukraine, as the country enters its third Easter in the war. The situation on the front line is deteriorating. In his Easter speech, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged Ukrainians to unite in prayer and called God an “ally” in the war with Russia.

Ukraine’s air force said on Sunday that Russia launched 24 Shahed drones, 23 of which were shot down by air defenses.

Six people, including a child, were injured in a drone attack in eastern Kharkiv region, regional governor Ole Sinyevov announced.

In the neighboring Dnipropetrovsk region, debris from a downed drone fell on a building, causing a fire. No casualties were reported.

Kiev authorities urged residents to follow Orthodox Easter services online due to safety concerns. Kiev City Administrator Serhiy Popko warned that “even on such a bright and festive day, we can expect evil deeds by the invaders.”

President Zelensky called on Ukrainians to unite in prayer for each other and the soldiers on the front lines.

In a video filmed in front of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, President Zelensky, wearing a traditional Vyshyvanka embroidered shirt, said that God “holds a chevron with the Ukrainian flag on his shoulder.” . With “such allies”, President Zelenskiy said, “life will definitely triumph over death.”

Although the majority of Ukrainians identify as Orthodox Christians, the church is divided. Many belong to the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The rival Ukrainian Orthodox Church remained loyal to the Patriarchate in Moscow until splitting from Russia after the 2022 invasion. viewed with suspicion By many Ukrainians.

In Moscow, worshipers including the president Vladimir Putin Moscow’s landmark Cathedral of Christ the Savior was packed late Saturday for a nightly Easter service he presided over. Patriarch Kirillleader of the Russian Orthodox Church and an outspoken supporter of the Kremlin.

Eastern Orthodox Christians typically celebrate Easter later than Catholic and Protestant churches. Different calculation method The date of a holy day commemorating the resurrection of Christ.

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Follow AP’s war coverage. https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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