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Ukraine-Russia conflict: Defiant woman holds back tears as she sings national anthem in rubble

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This is the moment a defiant Ukrainian woman held back tears as she sang the national anthem whilst cleaning rubble out of her bomb-stricken home.

Oksana Gulenko’s home was among the 33 civilian sites bombed by Russia in its assault on Ukraine over the last 24 hours, despite Moscow saying it would only strike military targets.

Filmed from inside her devastated apartment, a video shows Oksana calmly clearing her home of rubble while singing her country’s national anthem, titled (in English) ‘Glory and Freedom of Ukraine Has not yet Perished’.

This is the moment a defiant Ukrainian woman - Oksana Gulenko - held back tears as she sang the national anthem whilst cleaning rubble out of her bomb-stricken home

This is the moment a defiant Ukrainian woman – Oksana Gulenko – held back tears as she sang the national anthem whilst cleaning rubble out of her bomb-stricken home

Most of the residents of the apartment block she lives in are families of former Soviet army servicemen and border guards. 

Like his neighbours, Oksana’s father – who served in Afghanistan in the 1980s – was given the apartment by the military authorities in recognition of his service.

‘I was sleeping, there was a sharp explosion and I was thrown 3 meters from the bedroom into the corridor,’ she said.

‘I was scared, I started crawling on the floor,’ Oksana – a medic in a military hospital in Kyiv – added.

Today was to be an important day in the fledgling business Oksana’s daughter Katya started a few years ago. The patisserie Katya owns and Oksana helps to run was to host a big birthday party today.

The supplies the mother and daughter had planned to use to decorate the birthday case have been sprinkled with shards of glass by the blast.

Instead a devastated but defiant Katya sang Ukraine’s national anthem as she brushed the shards of the broken glass from the window sill.

Oksana Gulenko's home was among the 33 civilian sites bombed by Russia in its assault on Ukraine over the last 24 hours, despite Moscow saying it would only strike military targets

Oksana Gulenko’s home was among the 33 civilian sites bombed by Russia in its assault on Ukraine over the last 24 hours, despite Moscow saying it would only strike military targets

Filmed from inside her bomb-stricken apartment, a video shows Oksana calmly clearing her home of rubble while singing her country's national anthem

Filmed from inside her bomb-stricken apartment, a video shows Oksana calmly clearing her home of rubble while singing her country’s national anthem

Pictured: Baking supplies left on Oksana's kitchen table are shown covered in glass

Pictured: Baking supplies left on Oksana’s kitchen table are shown covered in glass

The footage also shows the outside of Oksana’s apartment bloc.

On the street below, rubble and debris covers the ground. Above, the building’s facade has been destroyed and most of the windows have been blown out.

There is significant structural damage to the building, with most of the doorways and balconies having collapsed.

A fire truck is parked in front of the building, and firemen are seen carrying a hose inside to dampen flames breaking out in the rubble. 

Aptly in the face of a Russian invasion, Ukraine’s national anthem is centred around the country fighting for freedom from oppression.

Translated from Ukrainian, the lyrics open with ‘Ukraine’s glory hasn’t perished, nor freedom, nor will,’ and strikes a tone of hope and defiance.

The anthem talks of fighting fiercely for freedom, and warns any potential invaders that ‘Our enemies will vanish, like dew in the morning sun.’ 

The anthem was officially adopted by Ukraine’s parliament on January 15, 1992 and the official lyrics used today were adopted in 2003.

The anthem’s lyrics use a slightly modified original first stanza of a poem written in 1862 by Pavlo Chubynsky, from Kyiv.

Through the years and under Russian occupation, Ukraine previously tried and failed to adopt the national anthem, before finally doing so with the fall of the USSR. 

Ukraine’s blue and yellow flag was also officially restored in 1992. The blue represents the sky, while the yellow symbolises Ukraine’s vast wheat fields. 

Pictured: A resident of the apartment block tips debris out of the window while clearing their home after it was devastated by a bomb blast

Pictured: A resident of the apartment block tips debris out of the window while clearing their home after it was devastated by a bomb blast

Pictured: A fire truck is parked in front of the devastated building, and firemen are seen carrying a hose inside to dampen flames breaking out in the rubble

Pictured: A fire truck is parked in front of the devastated building, and firemen are seen carrying a hose inside to dampen flames breaking out in the rubble

Ukraine’s national anthem: ‘Glory and Freedom of Ukraine Has not yet Perished’ 

Ukraine’s glory hasn’t perished, nor freedom, nor will.

Upon us, fellow kin, fate shall smile once more.

Our enemies will vanish, like dew in the morning sun,

And we too shall rule, brothers, in a free land of our own.

[Refrain]

We’ll lay down our souls and bodies to attain our freedom,

And we’ll show that we, brothers, are of the Kozak line.

We’ll lay down our souls and bodies to attain our freedom,

And we’ll show that we, brothers, are of the Kozak nation.

[Additional pre-2003 draft lyrics]

We’ll stand, brothers, in bloody battle, from the Sian to the Don,

We will not allow others to rule in our motherland.

The Black Sea will smile and grandfather Dnipro will rejoice,

For in our own Ukraine fortune shall shine again.

[Refrain]

Our persistence and our sincere toils will be rewarded,

And freedom’s song will throughout all of Ukraine resound.

Echoing off the Carpathians, and across the steppes rumbling,

Ukraine’s fame and glory will be known among all nations.

[Refrain] 

Missiles continued to pound Ukraine’s capital on Friday as Russian forces pressed their advance and authorities in Kyiv said they were preparing for an assault aimed at overthrowing the government.

Air raid sirens wailed over Kyiv, a European city of three million people, and some residents sheltered in underground metro stations, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion that has shocked the world.

Ukrainian officials said a Russian aircraft had been shot down and crashed into a building in Kyiv overnight, setting it ablaze and injuring eight people.

A senior Ukrainian official said Russian forces would enter areas just outside the capital later on Friday and that Ukrainian troops were defending positions on four fronts despite being outnumbered.

Kyiv city council warned residents of the Obolon district, near an air base seized on Thursday by Russian paratroopers, to stay indoors because of ‘the approach of active hostilities’.

Windows were blasted out of a 10-storey apartment block near Kyiv’s main airport, where a two-metre crater filled with rubble showed where a shell had struck before dawn. A policeman said people were injured there but not killed. 

‘How we can live through it in our time? What should we think. Putin should be burnt in hell along with his whole family,’ said Oxana Gulenko, sweeping broken glass from her room.

A neighbour, Soviet army veteran Anatoliy Marchenko, 57, could not find his cat that had run away during the shelling.

‘I know people there, they are my friends,’ he said of Russia. ‘What do they need from me? A war has come to my house.’

Witnesses said loud explosions could be heard in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, close to Russia’s border, and air raid sirens sounded over Lviv in the west. Authorities reported heavy fighting in the eastern city of Sumy. 

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people have fled the major cities. 

Dozens have been reported killed. Russian troops seized the Chernobyl former nuclear power plant north of Kyiv as they advanced on the city from Belarus. Ukraine said radiation levels were elevated there. 

Natali Sevriukova breaks down in tears as she stands in front of the ruins of her Kyiv apartment in the early hours of Friday

Natali Sevriukova breaks down in tears as she stands in front of the ruins of her Kyiv apartment in the early hours of Friday

Widespread damage is seen to apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine, with a Russian assault on the capital expected to take place today

Widespread damage is seen to apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine, with a Russian assault on the capital expected to take place today

A man dressed in camouflage takes a picture of a crater where a Russian rocket landed, destroying part of an apartment block in Kyiv which is now under heavy attack

A man dressed in camouflage takes a picture of a crater where a Russian rocket landed, destroying part of an apartment block in Kyiv which is now under heavy attack

Russian armour is now advancing on Kyiv from the north and east, with US intelligence saying the plan is to besiege the city, capture an airport, and fly in paratroopers who would then attack the capital. The aim would be to capture the government and force them to sign a peace treaty handing control of the country back to Russia or a Russian puppet

Russian armour is now advancing on Kyiv from the north and east, with US intelligence saying the plan is to besiege the city, capture an airport, and fly in paratroopers who would then attack the capital. The aim would be to capture the government and force them to sign a peace treaty handing control of the country back to Russia or a Russian puppet

U.S. officials believe Russia’s initial aim is to topple President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and ‘decapitate’ his government. Zelenskiy said the troops were coming for him, but he would stay in Kyiv.

‘(The) enemy has marked me down as the number one target,’ Zelenskiy said in a video message. ‘My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state.’

Russia launched its invasion by land, air and sea on Thursday following a declaration of war by Putin, in the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

Putin says Ukraine is an illegitimate state carved out of Russia, a view Ukrainians see as aimed at erasing their more than thousand-year history.

Putin’s full aims remain obscure. He says he does not plan a military occupation, only to disarm Ukraine and remove its leaders. 

But it is not clear how a pro-Russian leader could be installed without holding much of the country. Russia has floated no name of such a figure and none has come forward.

After Moscow denied for months it was planning an invasion, news that Putin had ordered one came as a shock to Russians accustomed to viewing their ruler of 22 years as a cautious strategist. Many Russians have friends and family in Ukraine.

Russia has cracked down on dissent and state media have relentlessly characterised Ukraine as a threat, but thousands of Russians took to the streets to protest against the war. Hundreds were swiftly arrested.

One pop star posted a video on Instagram opposing the war, and the head of a Moscow state-run theatre quit, saying she would not take her salary from a murderer.

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