Yaryna Arieva and her partner Sviatoslav Fursin got married as air raid sirens started ringing out, signaling an impending attack.
A couple went ahead with their wedding months ahead of schedule after Russia started attacking Ukraine. Yaryna Arieva and her partner Sviatoslav Fursin were all set to get married in May and laid out elaborate plans for the ceremony. Their plans went out of the window as Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was carrying out a 'military operation' in Ukraine. As the attacks grew, the couple decided to get hitched as soon as possible and got married at Kyiv's St Michael's monastery on Thursday when the attacks started. "That was very scary," said Arieva, reported CNN. "It's the happiest moment of your life, and you go out, and you hear that," said Arieva, 21, about the air raid sirens that were ringing out. Arieva is a deputy on the Kyiv City Council. Fursin is a 24-year-old software engineer.
The couple was originally scheduled to get married on May 6 followed by a celebration at a restaurant with a "very, very cute terrace" overlooking the Dnieper river, said Arieva.
"Just us and the river and beautiful lights," she said. They had met in October 2019 while participating in a protest in the center of Kyiv. "The situation is hard. We are going to fight for our land," said Arieva unsure of the future that awaits them with Russia invading Ukraine. "We maybe can die, and we just wanted to be together before all of that."
There will be no honeymoon. The couple is joining up with the local Territorial Defense Center to help defend the country. They are waiting to see what tasks they will be handed. "Maybe they will just give us armor and we will go and fight. Maybe we will help with something else. They will decide," she said. Arieva describes her husband as her "closest friend on the Earth" and says she's hopeful they'll one day get to celebrate their marriage. "Maybe they (Russia) will just get out from our country and we will have an ability to celebrate normally," said Arieva. "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."
It was not the wedding day they envisaged, but as Russia attacked their country Thursday Yaryna Arieva and her partner Sviatoslav Fursin rushed to tie the knot with the sound of air raid sirens ringing in their ears. https://t.co/i4gFSDpjVP— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) February 25, 2022
As of Friday, Russia has started attacking Kyiv. The residents of Kyiv woke up to explosions as reports suggested missile strikes were hitting the city. The government urged the people to help the government in fighting Russia. “We urge citizens to inform us of troop movements, to make Molotov cocktails, and neutralize the enemy,” read a Facebook post by the Ministry of Defence.
Moments ago in Kyiv. Sirens and empty streets. Never in 12 years have I seen it so bare and eerie. pic.twitter.com/ewujNtznEo— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 25, 2022
Another couple that was forced to flee Ukraine is American Meghan Neville and her boyfriend, Maksym Lushpenko, a Ukrainian. Neville met Lushpenko two years ago when she visited the country. She heard him speaking English at a Christmas market and went over to say hi. "We hit it off really well," she recalled, reported NPR. She moved to Ukraine to live with her boyfriend last year but now she and Lushpenko are leaving the country after being told by the US embassy to leave Ukraine. "I remember the day I got it. I was crying all day long. I was so scared," said Neville. "But then I talked to a lot of Ukrainian friends here and my boyfriend and his family and ... to them, it was, 'Well ... this has been happening for about eight years. It's nothing new for us. It's just Russia being Russia.'"
They soon realized that matters were escalating and decided to leave for Warsaw. "There weren't very many planes leaving, but the ones that were leaving were pretty packed. Ours was completely booked," said Neville. "But we made it here. [We are] very relieved to be feeling safe in Warsaw and sad to leave Ukraine." She is hoping they can return to Ukraine sometime in the near future. "We really want to return back to Ukraine," she said. "We love it here."
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information is swiftly changing and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.