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Orthodox celebrations in Ukraine as Christmas spirit sparks a longing for peace

Safe passage is given to Ukraine government troops at Donetsk airport as separatists allow them to replace their colleagues at the contested airport on orthodox Christmas Eve.

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Orthodox celebrations in Ukraine as Christmas spirit sparks a longing for peace

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Whether in the spirit of the orthodox Christian Christmas or as part of a barely recognisable ceasefire, Ukrainian separatists gave safe passage to the change of guard at Donetsk Airport on Tuesday (Jan.6)

Complete with Christmas presents, a convoy of round 50 government troops were allowed to replace colleagues at the contested airport.

Christmas Eve in Kyiv and the thoughts of many of the worshipers at St. Volodymyr Cathedral were with those who have suffered in the violence of divided Ukraine.

One steel worker from Donetsk said:
“I wish real unity for the people of Ukraine, so that all these events that have happened over the last year in 2014 bring Ukrainians to the right conclusions and we can finally have peace in out land.”

“Today’s holiday I think means for everyone that we want good to win over evil, we want to let the war be over and to wish people good health and happiness,” added a teacher from Kyiv.

Those sentiments were echoed in an official Christmas video featuring Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko who wished everyone a happy and safe Christmas.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has continued despite a cease-fire reached in September as the two sides have failed to agree on a line of division to create a buffer zone.

More than 4,700 people have been killed since April.