Air raid sirens wailed and one of the brides wore camouflage trousers as the Ukrainian army took a break from frontline fighting in the east to hold a double wedding on Sunday.
Andrii Kravchuk terminated his contract with Russian side Torpedo Moscow and fled to Manchester following Russia's invasion of his homeland.
On average, every day over the last 20 days in Ukraine, more than 70,000 children have become refugees," James Elder, spokesman for the UN children's agency UNICEF, told reporters in Geneva.
Civilians trapped in the region have faced brutal conditions, and EU leaders met President Volodymyr Zelensky in a show of support as news emerged of the devastating attack on Kramatorsk's station. The 52 victims included five children.
Some soon-to-be refugees felt unable to take their pets further. Zalypskyy estimates his shelter has taken in 1,500 animals since the war began, from migrants and shelters in "hot spots" to the east.
One of the most dramatic examples of Ukraine's ability to prevent easy victories is in Mariupol, where Ukrainian fighters holed up at a steel plant have denied Russia full control of the city.
"To the world: what is the point of saying 'never again' for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babi Yar," Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky asked in a tweet.
The United Nations said more than 660,000 refugees had fled to neighbouring countries since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched what he has called "a special military operation" last Thursday.
Semyon's father will not be with them to celebrate his son's birthday in safety. After driving his loved ones to the border, he turned back into Ukraine.