In Ukraine, Christmas takes place in the shadow of war. More than half of Ukrainians celebrate holidays right now, just like us. There are many empty chairs at their Christmas Eve tables, not for travelers, but for loved ones who were missing because of the war. There are Christmas trees in some cities, but there are also places where there is not a single Christmas lamp, such as in Bucza, Irpień or Hostomel near Kiev, where TVN24 journalist Alina Makarczuk went to trace the footsteps of the Russian occupation before Christmas. She took her younger sister on this trip.
– My name is Ela, I am 8 years old and I go to the third grade. When the bomb alarm starts, we go down to the shelter. There are many tiny benches for different classes. We don’t do homework there, we just sit there. There are also desks where we can draw something. At this time, teachers talk or read the news – says Ela, the heroine of the reportage “Ukraine: in the footsteps of war”.
Her sister, TVN24 journalist Alina Makarczuk, took her on an unusual journey – to Bucza, Irpień and Hostomel, where traces of bloody fighting can still be seen on the streets.
– Ela, what is a normal life without war in your opinion? – the journalist asks her sister.
– Normal life is when you can drive wherever you want. When you can go to the store normally, when the sirens aren’t going off, when you’re at school. When you don’t have to go to the shelter, you don’t have to worry and you can do whatever you want, the girl replies. – The Russians have done terrible things on our land, but even Putin won’t steal Christmas from us. We will sing Christmas carols – he adds.
Main photo source: TVN24