CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Despite having to change her wedding plans and watch her husband ship off to war, one new bride says morale in Ukraine is strong.
“Everyone is laughing at the Russians. People here are making jokes,” Yaryna Arieva said on Thursday evening’s edition of “The Donlon Report.”
Arieva and her husband, Sviatoslav Fursin, were engaged Feb. 24, 2021 — exactly one year before Russia invaded Ukraine.
The couple planned on getting married in May, but as missiles dropped and convoys inched closer, they decided getting hitched now was the best thing to do.
“We had been living separately and we didn’t want to stay at home with our parents thinking of each other, not knowing what’s going on and being really nervous about each other,” the newlywed said.
Like many Ukrainian citizens, they say the war actually brought them closer together.
“We decided to get married to strengthen our connection and to help each other and to protect each other as much as we can,” she said.
It’s a unification and tenacity that has taken even the Russian military by surprise. Before the invasion, military experts predicted the Russians would take Ukraine by this point in the war. But Ukrainians have been persistent, with civilians taking up arms, throwing themselves in front of tanks and mass producing Molotov cocktails.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed in his address Tuesday that 9,000 Russians have been killed since the invasion, although that’s impossible to verify. Russia said Wednesday only 500 of its troops had been killed.
But Ukraine is still considered an underdog in the war with many difficult days ahead. Arieva says she heard some explosions Wednesday night, telling “The Donlon Report” “everything became as light as the day” and “it was really scary.”
She believed what she saw was the Ukrainian military shooting down a Russian rocket, saying, “It just exploded in the sky.”
Still, the Ukrainians have not been deterred. Arieva says once a mission is done, despite being tired, her husband is waiting for the next one. Ukrainians are “ready to take their arms in their hands and to go and kill Russian invaders,” she said. “It’s really cool, people are in a great mood and they are going to fight till they will win.”
Arieva does not know the specifics of the mission her husband is currently on, only that it is a combat mission and on the defense force — the second line after the Ukrainian military. The new bride is also uncertain of when her husband will return.
In any case, she understands the task at hand.
“People here believe and know that we will win,” she said. “We will never surrender, and we will fight for our land as much as we have to.”