As the Russian invasion within Ukraine intensifies, model and former Miss Ukraine Veronika Didusenko warns that frightened mothers and children huddling in shelters stand to be most impacted by the crisis.

“Some cities fighting back are on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe, but they’re not giving up,” Didusenko, who was crowned Miss Ukraine in 2018, told a Los Angeles press conference held alongside women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred on Tuesday.

Didusenko recounted her harrowing escape with her 7-year-old son from Ukraine that began on Feb. 24, the day Russian military forces first launched missile attacks as they marched into her country and headed toward Kyiv, where she had lived. “In between raids, we, along with thousands of other families, tried to get out of the city in the middle of a giant traffic jam. Directly above my head, dozens of Russian helicopters with troops were bombing a nearby airfield,” she recalled.

Although the beauty pageant winner escaped Ukraine and had to travel through four other countries to reach the U.S., she pointed to millions of other Ukrainian mothers and children left behind in her native land to face the Russian attack, or who are attempting to reach neighboring countries and the West for safety as refugees.

“Right now, millions of Ukrainian children and their mothers are trembling at every sound they hear in subway stations and shelters, and even more heartbreaking are those forced to give birth in such conditions,” Didusenko said. Although she already had a visa to travel to the U.S., Didusenko said an application at the U.S. embassy in Luxembourg to secure an additional visa for her son was denied.

“It was heartbreaking,” she recalled when having to leave her son with a friend in Switzerland before she could travel on to Los Angeles. Didusenko added her voice to calls for Russia to be severed from the global economy and the West to undermine Russian President Vladimir Putin.

She urged the U.S. and other Western powers to arm Ukrainians as they defend themselves against the Russian attack, and to impose a no-fly zone over the country itself.

“Men in Ukraine need this help the most, as those are under fire from the Russian bombing are begging our allies to close the skies over Ukraine. Unfortunately, those pleas are falling on deaf ears in Washington and in Europe,” Didusenko continued.

Allred said she and Didusenko would hold another press conference Wednesday to discuss an unspecified women’s rights initiative they have been jointly working on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *