Putin says he’s ready to ‘negotiate with all concerned’ over Ukraine

People take pictures in front of the recently lit Christmas tree on Kyiv's Sophia Square on Sunday.
People take pictures in front of the recently lit Christmas tree on Kyiv’s Sophia Square on Sunday. (Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

People in central Kyiv welcomed with cheers Sunday the lighting of the capital’s Christmas tree, which was first lit a week ago and has been lit every night since.

The Christmas tree is located on Sophia Square in the center of the Ukrainian capital – a traditional venue for Christmas and New Year celebrations, often including a Christmas market.

The moment the tree was lit by the generator, the crowd gathered to witness this moment was full of enthusiasm.

The 12-meter-tall tree is dotted in blue and yellow like the Ukrainian flag, decorated with white doves and topped with an ornament representing the Ukrainian national emblem, which has been destroyed by Putin’s war since February 17 symbol of the country. 24 years old this year.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said earlier this year that the decorations will be 100 percent funded by local businesses and that the tree will be decorated with “energy-saving lamps.”

Ihor Zholudiev, an IT specialist from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, told CNN he found the moment “inspiring.”

“Normally we’re not that happy about it. But in this tough year with few holidays, when those holidays don’t feel like it, this lighting of the Christmas tree is inspiring. It really feels like Christmas,” He told CNN, adding that his “wish for the New Year, Christmas and birthday is the same: the skies of victory and peace are above us.”

The married couple Ihor and Victoria were also present at the square to make his point.

“We want the Russians to leave our country, that’s the only wish,” they told CNN, adding they hoped for “a silver lining” this Christmas and New Year.

“We came here with our baby. She was born in the airstrike and she needs happiness too. Our daughter is 9 months old, she was born on March 31,” they said.

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