Ukrainians observe Easter fearing Russian attacks

STORY: The head of Ukraine's Orthodox church asked clergy and the faithful this week to forgo night-time Easter services in areas of the country affected by fighting, fearing Russian bombardments will continue during the Orthodox Easter period.

Zaporizhzhia lies around 20 km (12.4 miles) from the frontline and has been hit by shelling in recent days.

Many devotees like Olena Kolodyazeva came to the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity carrying baskets of ornately painted Easter eggs and paska, a traditional Ukrainian Easter bread, but only to receive blessings from the priest outside. A small crowd attended the morning Easter mass inside the church.

“We didn’t enter the church. We did everything quickly. We received our blessings from the priest and we are now on our way home,” said Kolodyazeva.

Russia says it is carrying out a special military operation in Ukraine aimed at demilitarising and "denazifying" the country. Ukraine and the West reject that as a baseless pretext.

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