As Ukraine observes Christmas on 25 December for the first time, Russian attacks on Kherson result in the deaths of five individuals.

Birth of Christ was historically celebrated on January 7th, but has now shifted symbolically away from Russia.
A strike on an apartment building in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region caused by Russian shelling resulted in the death of five individuals, including an 87-year-old man and his 81-year-old wife.
The attack on Sunday also injured nine others, including a 15-year-old, and caused fires and destruction in homes and a medical facility, as well as setting a local gas pipeline on fire, according to Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of the regional military administration.
Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, commenting on the attack, stated on social media, “There are no holidays for the enemy. They do not exist for us as long as the enemy kills our people and remains on our land.”
The shelling reached the city center of Kherson, the capital of the region.
Russian forces withdrew from the city on the Dnipro river in southern Ukraine, as well as the western bank of the river, over a year ago. However, they have continued to shell many areas from their positions on the eastern bank.
According to regional police, three people, including the elderly couple, died due to shelling of an apartment building and a private home in Kherson city. Another woman died in a drone attack in a small town south of Kherson, and a second woman was killed in a town further north that came under heavy fire.
About 600 km (400 miles) northeast of Kherson, in the Russian-controlled town of Horlivka in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Ukraine’s shelling destroyed a shopping center and several other buildings, as reported by a Russian-appointed official.
The attacks caused the death of one woman and injured six civilians, according to the Russian-appointed mayor of Horlivka, Ivan Prikhodko, on the Telegram messaging app. However, these reports could not be independently verified.
These attacks took place as Ukraine prepared to officially celebrate Christmas for the first time on December 25th, signaling a departure from the Russian Orthodox church’s tradition of celebrating the birth of Christ on January 7th.
Last year, some Orthodox Ukrainians observed Christmas on December 25th in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
During this year’s Christmas celebration on January 7th at the Monastery of the Caves in Kyiv, a UNESCO world heritage site, the service was conducted in the Ukrainian language for the first time in the country’s 31 years of independence from the Soviet Union.
In July, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed legislation to move the public Christmas holiday to December 25th. However, one of Ukraine’s two competing Orthodox church organizations still adheres to the January date based on the Julian calendar. To mark Christmas Eve on December 24th, Zelenskiy delivered a video address to the nation in front of the illuminated St Sophia Cathedral in central Kyiv, assuring Ukrainians that “step by step, day by day, the darkness is losing.”
Besides Kherson, other regions of Ukraine also came under attack on Sunday. Russian forces carried out 15 drone strikes overnight, resulting in the destruction of 14 Iranian-made Shahed drones over the Mykolaiv, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhziya, Dnipropetrovsk, and Khmelnytskyi regions, according to the Ukrainian air force.
Furthermore, two individuals were wounded during Russian shelling of 20 towns and villages in northern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, according to the governor, Oleh Syniehubov.
In Russia, a man was injured in the Bryansk region when a village near the Ukrainian border was targeted with gunfire, as stated by the governor of the region, Alexander Bogomaz.
Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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