“Distance weddings” are how war-time Ukrainian couples are taking long-distance relationships to the next level.

Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 3,328 marriages have been registered at a distance, according to Ukrainian civil partnership authorities.

Using a video or telephone link, a wedding or civil partnership ceremony without one of the partners physically present has taken place in the case of 1,700 couples.

For 1,577 couples, it’s been a case of having the knot tied by the commanding officer of a military unit – who have been given that legal right during the full-scale war. Directors of health facilities, who also now have legal nuptial right, have married 51 couples.

Long-distance marriages under the new provisions have been most popular in Kyiv (with 435 couples) followed by Dnipropetrovsk (325 couples) and Odesa (244 couples).

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In 2022, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers simplified procedures for military personnel to be able to marry or register their partnership by distance. That included one of the partners not needing to be physically present during a registration ceremony.

Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief has served as “starosta” (or “elder” in the Ukrainian tradition) at the weddings of Ukrainian serviceman.

 

Currently, there are also reforms afoot in terms of giving LGBT+ Ukrainian military personnel equal legal rights to register their same-sex partnerships. Draft legislation is being consulted about with Ukraine’s national parliament.

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