Residents and visitors in Kyiv on New Year’s Eve expressed a resolve to celebrate the new year, and also hope that 2023 could bring peace, as Russia’s invasion grinds on.
Daria Zhabinska, a 19-year-old student who works for Visit Ukraine, said her wish for 2023 is for Ukraine’s 1991 borders as an independent state to be restored.
“For us to return to the borders of 1991 is the only dream. And I want all my loved ones to be healthy,” she told CNN.
“We do not have a New Year’s mood like in previous years; in previous years, we had everything decorated and prepared for a month, and we still do not even have a Christmas tree. We are going to look for one now and if we find one, we will have one this year and if not, that’s OK,” she said.
“All this adrenaline, all this stress, when you read the news or talk to someone, you just want to celebrate this new year,” she added.
Twenty-year-old student Anastasia Grimaylo said she has stocked up on candles as Russian strikes cause repeated power outages across Ukraine.
“We’re ready for anything,” she told CNN.
Dariya Chesnokova is a schoolteacher, and Yurii Nagotnuk works in the information technology sector. Both are 25 years old and are from the southern city of Kryvyi Rih.
“We came to Kyiv to visit friends, to get a sense of the New Year’s mood. We are also taking presents to our friends,” she said.
Chesnokova said her wish for 2023 is for Ukraine to win the war, “and then we will rebuild everything.”
Natalia Vaganova, 27, an employee of a consulting company who lives in Brovary in the Kyiv region, said she will celebrate at home with family.
“We expect victory and peaceful skies from 2023,” she said.
Olexander Oleksiyenko, a 26-year-old who works in IT and lives in Kyiv, said he will not celebrate this New Year’s because his girlfriend is abroad, adding that he plans to “just drink some wine and eat something delicious.”
“In 2023, of course, I don’t expect the war to end, but I would like it very much. I am a realist, and I think the war could last another 2 years. But I would like minimum stability and some peace,” he said.
Alyona Bogulska, a 29-year-old financier from Kyiv, said she plans to celebrate the new year with “a glass of champagne and … a sandwich with red caviar.”
“From 2023 I really want to win, and also to have more bright impressions and new emotions. I miss it very much. I also want to travel and open borders. And I also think about personal and professional growth, because one should not stand still. I have to develop and work for the benefit of the country,” she said.
Tatiana Tkachuk, a 43-year-old pharmacy employee in Kyiv, said her Christmas tree this year symbolizes survival and victory.
“This year we had a family question whether to prepare for (the) new year and whether to put up a Christmas tree. We made up our minds — a Christmas tree should be at home. This year, it’s a symbol, not that it’s a small victory, but a symbol that we survived the year. There were a lot of scary things, but there were some good things, too. … Children are born, it is a good sign,” she said.
“And from the new year we expect only victory. And I know for sure there will be one. It is the desire of all Ukrainians, and if everyone wants something, it will happen,” she said.
“I want to thank everyone who helps Ukraine. We’ve made a lot of friends. And in order to understand that we have a lot of good things, unfortunately, we had to go through terrible things. But so many people are doing real miracles for Ukraine. In other circumstances, we would never have known that we were capable of it,” she added.