The country’s main Christmas tree was lit up on Saint Sophia’s Square in Kyiv on December 19. To Eastern rite Christians, the day falls on Saint Nicholas Day, according to the Julian calendar. Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko presided over the tree-lighting ceremony. While speaking on stage, Mr. Klitschko called on Kyivans and guests of the capital to thank the front-line “defenders” of Ukraine, and to also thank the health care workers and first responders “who continue to work on holidays and weekends and save people’s lives” amid a coronavirus pandemic that has led to the deaths of nearly 17,000 people and infected nearly 1 million more in Ukraine.
– by Mark Raczkiewycz