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Russian-born man, Ukrainian woman tie knot in Dharamshala with message: Make love, not war

Alona Burmaka, a 28-year-old Ukrainian woman, and Sergey Novikov, a 37-year-old man born in Russia (now an Israeli citizen) registered their marriage in Dharamshala on Monday under the Special Marriage Act of India.

ANI | Dharamshala |

While Russia and Ukraine are entangled in a fierce fight, a Russian-born man and a Ukrainian woman urged the two countries to “make love, not war” on the occasion of their marriage in Dharamshala.

Alona Burmaka, a 28-year-old Ukrainian woman, and Sergey Novikov, a 37-year-old man born in Russia (now an Israeli citizen) registered their marriage in Dharamshala on Monday under the Special Marriage Act of India.

However, they have already performed marriage rituals as per Hindu tradition a month ago. Talking to the media after their marriage was registered, they gave the message: Make love and not war.

“We come from Israel and Ukraine. We met in Israel and have been living together for six years. About a year ago we came to India and felt that this is a special place (Dharamshala) to get married by the Hindu tradition, and culture. This is not only a message for Russia and Ukraine, this is also a message for Hindu people. Once Russia and Ukraine were one nation, like brothers. We need to make love, not war. Violence is not good, it’s not about the people, this is just the governments who are fighting. It needs to stop,” said Sergey Novikov, the groom.

On February 24, Russia began a special military operation in Ukraine after the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics requested help in defending themselves. The Russian Defence Ministry said the special operation is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only and the civilian population is not in danger.

“I met Sergey in Israel and we have been together for almost six years and when we came to India, we decided to marry, to connect our souls. We like India and its culture like — it’s very deep, nice, lovely,” said Alona Burmaka, the bride.

Meanwhile, SDM Dharamshala Shilp Bekta issued the marriage registration certificate to them. Bekta told the media that they register around 40 per cent of marriages of foreigners in Dharamshala under the Special Marriage Act.

“Under section 11 of the Special Marriage Act, a marriage was registered today. The bride is a Ukrainian citizen, while the groom is a Russian-born Israeli citizen,” said the SDM.

“From January 1 to September 5, 2022, as many as 106 marriages have been registered. Around 40 marriages are related to foreigners, that is, a foreigner marrying an Indian citizen or Tibetan refugee,” she added.