As Russian airstrikes rained down across Ukraine, Yaryna Arieva and Sviatoslav Fursin knew they had to get married. The couple planned to tie the knot in May, but they moved up the ceremony once the Russian invasion started last week.
After finding a priest and a church, the couple was married at St. Michael’s monastery in Kyiv. As they exchanged vows, the reality of the war struck them as air raid sirens started blaring.
“The understanding of the new reality hit me after the wedding, the moment we went out of the church, and we had to do the wedding kiss,” Arieva told The Sydney Morning News. “We did it with the sound of sirens in our ears. It was this understanding that things will change, things are changing, and nothing will be like this anymore.”
A few hours after their wedding, the couple decided to enlist in the Ukrainian army.
“I just did it because it’s my country, it’s my land. I was born in Kyiv. I’m a deputy of the Kyiv city council. My property, my car, my loved ones, my friends, my cat live here.”
Fursin, who has already been promoted to the second commander of his platoon, was deployed to assist Ukrainian soldiers as they fought off a column of Russian armored vehicles. Meanwhile, Arieva was able to avoid direct fighting and stayed behind in Kyiv to undergo medical training.
Arieva hopes to have a regular honeymoon with Fursin once the war is over.
“Maybe they (Russia) will just get out from our country, and we will have an ability to celebrate normally,” she told CNN. “I just hope that everything will go normal and we will have our land, we will have our country safe and happy without any Russians in it.”