Ukraine Live Updates: Griner Appeals Drug Sentence, as U.S. and Russia Discuss Prisoner Swap

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

KYIV, Ukraine — A wedding registry center in the heart of Kyiv was a whirlwind of romance and celebration, reflecting the forlorn optimism on display across the Ukrainian capital these days.

Some were tying the knot on a summer Saturday after their plans were delayed by the war. Others, like Larissa, 31, and Roman, 30, rushed into marriage, realizing how quickly things could change.

“We decided that no matter what happens in the future, we will always be together,” said Larissa, who, like others interviewed, did not give her full name for security reasons. “Our family is sure that love always wins and Ukraine will definitely win.”

Across Kyiv – a city where the future is unclear but many wish to find happiness in the present – ​​Ukrainians are trying to regain the rhythm and joy of everyday life amid the vagaries, uncertainty and suffering of war.

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

There can be no better place to feel the pulse of Kyiv in summer than the banks of the Dnipro River. Before the war, people kayaked and lounged, music swelled from concerts and raves, crowds sunbathed or played sports. He is still not back from rioting. But people are coming back.

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Champion bodybuilder Alexander Savchenko swam from Odessa with his coach and his girlfriend, Valeria Beldalia, 27, on Saturday. Ms. Beldalia’s home is in Berdyansk, in the heart of the occupied south. She does not know when she will return.

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Valentina Shevchenko, 64, led the class on valeology, the science of living a healthy life through proper exercise and diet. She led half a dozen devotees dancing and gyrating to pop songs. For several months in the spring they could not meet because of the war. But they have now resumed their routine, with one change: they all dress in blue and gold, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Volodymyr, 79, said he ended the class with the phrase: “Glory to Ukraine, health to all her people and thanks to our Western allies.”

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

On an island in the middle of the river, Petro, a 53-year-old ex-soldier and retired lawyer, stood on a sandy shore wearing hip waders, a jar of fly larvae stuck in his pocket. He came to fish for perch and carp, as well as seeking peace of mind.

Six months ago, instead of a fishing rod, Petro grabbed a machine gun and prepared to defend his home as Russian troops bore down on Kiev in the opening weeks of their invasion. More than four months after forcing the Russians to retreat outside the city, Petro returned to his favorite fishing spot.

“It takes away all the stress of war and all the negative thoughts,” he said, waiting for a bite. “I just want to shut my mind off. And if I catch a fish, I thank God.”

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

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