He and fellow party organizer Tamara, 24, who declined to give her last name for safety fears because she is an active service member, explained that many of the revelers were military personnel on leave and that the event had been held early to allow them to celebrate the new year with their families.
The schedule was also set to comply with a strict curfew of 11 pm local time (6 pm ET), which will be in effect when the clock strikes midnight.
“The purpose of this event, first of all, is for people to rest a bit before the new year. It is mainly for the service men and women to have a good time, and also a form of gratitude to them,” said Tamara.
In a nod to the party’s patriotic underpinnings, the rave stopped at one point to listen to the Ukrainian national anthem.
Tamara said she was scheduled to be deployed near the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, where months of brutal fighting have seen Ukrainian forces halt Russian efforts to advance.
The idea that she and her party mates could have fun while others fought on the front lines resented her because the conflict had somehow normalized.
«This war is actually not nearly a year old, it’s actually eight years old,» Tamara said, referring to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and backing by splinter forces elsewhere in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
“For me and most of my friends, nothing drastically changed after the full-scale invasion, because we were fighting even before,” Tamara said. «I have always been afraid of war, but there is a proverb: if you want peace, you must be ready to fight for it.»
Outside of clubs and private parties, New Year’s celebrations will largely be reserved for a more solemn evening in Ukraine.
Russia launched a fresh barrage of missiles at the capital and other cities on Saturday, killing at least one person after weeks of attacks on energy targets that have forced blackouts and left millions without water or electricity through the winter.
«This time, Russia’s massive missile attack deliberately targets residential areas, not even our energy infrastructure. War criminal Putin ‘celebrates’ the New Year by killing people,» Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. , On twitter. Russia has denied targeting civilians.