President Zelenskyy changes law so Ukraine celebrates Christmas on different day to Russia

28 July 2023, 20:42

The change moves Ukraine in line with the West
The change moves Ukraine in line with the West. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

President Zelenskyy has changed Ukrainian law so it celebrates Christmas on a different day to Russia.

Today in Ukraine is National Statehood Day, which was declared by Zelenskyy in 2021 during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence.

President Zelenskyy has celebrated independence day by changing the dates of several state holidays, labelling it a "renunciation of Russian heritage".

One of the biggest changes is Christmas Day, which is usually celebrated on January 7 in Ukraine, in line with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Ukraine has been celebrating National Statehood Day
Ukraine has been celebrating National Statehood Day. Picture: Getty

But it will now celebrate Christmas on December 25, in line with most of the West.

The move towards this change escalated following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Mr Zelensky signed the bill on Friday - a fortnight after it had been passed by lawmakers.

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Ukraine had preciously been under Moscow's spiritual leadership since the 17th century.

However, in 2019, part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church severed tied with Moscow following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Also introduced today is Day of Ukraine's Defenders day, which will be celebrated on October.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's National Statehood Day will be moved from today, July 28, to July 15.

Russian missile strike in Dnipro
Russian missile strike in Dnipro. Picture: Getty

It comes after a Ukrainian drone was shot down near Moscow, according to Russia's defence ministry.

It is the third drone strike or attempt on the capital region this month.

There were no injuries or damage, the ministry added.

It did not give details about where the drone was shot down on Friday morning, but said it took place in the Moscow Oblast, a region surrounding but not including the city itself.

The incident adds to concern about Moscow's vulnerability to attack as the war with Ukraine enters its 18th month.