Love Against All Odds
A love story that finally found a happy ending. Four months ago, the former prisoner-of-war Viktor Bezpalchenko and his girlfriend Tetiana registered their marriage in Moscow's Lefortovo prison. After spending nine months in prison, they were finally able to take their vows.
Reading their vows to one another and swearing their eternal love, the couple exchanged rings. They had met each other over five years ago. Back then, the bride was visiting a friend in Crimea where she met Viktor Bezpalchenko, who was serving in the army.
“You know, when I saw him — I immediately knew he was my man. No lie! Since my childhood I have dreamed of having such a courageous and handsome man,” Tetiana Bezpalchenko said.
Viktor Bezpalchenko recalls how asked his beloved to marry him. The first attempt ended in failure.
“I wanted it to take place on a boat — at sea. I had already organized everything, but she couldn’t get the day off at work. Then I had to cancel everything and decorate a table at home, lit candles,” Viktor Bezpalchenko said.
The couple had made plans to celebrate their wedding in the spring. But then life had plans of its own.
On Nov. 25 of last year, Russian security forces fired at Ukrainian ships crossing the Kerch Strait and captured the entire crew of the vessels. Viktor Bezpalchenko, along with another 23 sailors, was among the captives.
“There were many tears. We still cry when we remember the events,” mother of the groom Liudmyla Bezpalchenko said.
“My wife at least could see him, when she visited him. I wasn’t able to see him at all. The first time he called me was from the airport. Oh, Lord, tears were streaming down my cheeks. See? Almost nine months have passed!” Anatoliy Bezpalchenko said.
For the newlyweds, the exchange of rings wasn’t the first. They had registered their marriage four months prior to their wedding ceremony at the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center in Moscow. This was made possible by the tremendous work of Ukrainian lawyers and lengthy negotiations.
“You know when and where we registered our marriage first… This is why this wedding is more like a holiday for us. Today is nothing else than pure bliss. Just pure happiness knowing that Viktor and all the sailors are at home,” Tetiana Bezpalchenko said.
The family plans to live in Odesa, where Viktor Bezpalchenko will continue his military service. At the wedding, the couple invited all the sailors who had also been held captive. Mykhailo Vlasiuk was invited to be the Viktor’s best man.
“We both pursued our higher education together, we went to the military together, we were leaving Crimea together, and then we ended up in Russia together. He is dear to me,” Vlasiuk said.
Guests took turns making toasts for the newlywed. In the middle of the celebration, the young couple also received congratulations via a video message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Best wishes! We are proud of you!” Zelensky said, smiling.