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March 3, 2022 12:03 pm
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‘Get Out of Ukraine, You B*stard’: Holocaust Survivors in Kyiv Send Defiant Message to Putin

avatar by Ben Cohen

Sitting in front of Ukrainian and Israeli flags, Tamara Lukash (r) and Valentyna Yosypivna (l) told Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his armies from Ukraine. Photo: Screenshot

Two Jewish women who survived the Nazi Holocaust in Ukraine as children were at the center of a defiant video message sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin that went viral on Thursday.

The video showed a group of people taking shelter in a basement in the capital Kyiv from the Russian onslaught outside. The two elderly women looked directly into the camera as they reminded Putin of the suffering of their families during the Holocaust, before demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.

Sitting in front of the flags of both Ukraine and Israel, Tamara Lukash recalled that she had been born in 1939, the year Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

“All my Jewish relatives from my mother’s side were taken to Babi Yar,” she said, referring to the site of an infamous massacre just outside Kyiv in Sept. 1941 in which more than 30,000 Jews were slaughtered. “All of them died there.” The memorial at the site was hit by a Russian airstrike on Tuesday.

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Pointing out that she was in Kyiv now — “and this year, it’s a horror” — she then turned her ire on Putin.

“Putin, I wish you would die,” she declared, in a voice breaking with emotion. “Leave us, leave us, you bastard. We don’t want to see you, we don’t want to hear you, we want peace!”

In the same video, Valentyna Yosypivna said that she had been born in Ukraine on June 22, 1941 — the day that Nazi Germany launched a ferocious assault against the Soviet Union.

“My relatives died at Babi Yar,” she said. “Now, it’s Kyiv under bomb attacks and shelling again.”

Her voice rising, she continued: “Putin! Take your army! Get out of Ukraine! We want peace!”

The Russian offensive intensified again on Thursday with reports of two key cities close to the Crimea region — Kherson and Mariupol — falling to Russian forces amid deadly attacks on civilian areas.

In Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged western nations to provide his country with fighter planes, given NATO’s unwillingness to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

“If you do not have the power to close the skies, then give me planes,” he said.

“If we are no more then, God forbid, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia will be next,” he added.

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