First press conference

Veronika Didusenko and Gloria Allred to Discuss the Impact of the Ukrainian War on Mothers and Children Fleeing Ukraine (3/8/2022)

My name is Veronika Didusenko. I am from the besieged city of Kyiv, from war torn Ukraine.

A little later, Gloria and I will return to the original topic of our meeting which was planned a few weeks ago. But I want to start with a much more serious topic for me, for my country, for the whole free world.

On February 24, my 7-year-old son and I were woken up by sirens and explosions. A city of more than three million people which was asleep, without any formal declaration of war, without any hope for its inhabitants to take shelter, was hit by an enemy bomb.

In-between raids, we, along with tens of thousands of other families, tried to get out of the city. Thousands of cars formed a traffic jam on the highway on the way out of Kyiv for many hours. Directly above my head, dozens of Russian helicopters with troops were breaking through to the Gostomel airfield.

The airfield, formerly famous for being home to the largest aircraft in the world, the Ukrainian “Mriya”, which the occupants burned down. And today, the fact that there are a handful of 18-19-year-old boys, conscripted soldiers, stopped the “unstoppable” Russian special forces.

There was a real air battle above our heads, after which the legend of the Ghost of Kyiv was born.

On my multiple-day journey to the western border of Ukraine there was no such place where sirens would not sound, where rockets and bombs would not explode.

Right now, millions of Ukrainian children and their mothers are trembling at every sound in the subways and bomb shelters. And the first timid hope for them all was the children born in these shelters.

Right now, Russian aircraft, cruise missiles, multiple rocket launchers continue to strike at dozens of Ukrainian cities.

The Kremlin called the invasion of a country of 40 million not a war, but rather A special operation against the Nazis they invented, although they behave like Nazis, down to the smallest detail.

Putin said he would not bomb civilian targets? Well, ask about it in the maternity hospital of Zhytomyr, in the orphanage of the Ukrainian Vorzel, in the kindergarten of Stanytsia Luhanska, at the school of the Ukrainian Akhtyrka, at the University of Kharkiv and in the hospital of Chernihiv.

I don’t have the latest figures, but this past weekend 34 hospitals have either been fully destroyed or damaged to the point of having to shut down. Obviously, only Putin’s bunker is considered a “civilian object”.

Ask the citizens of of Mariupol or Irpin who were being shot at as being shot as they tried to evacuate using an agreed upon humanitarian corridor.

Ask the families of the 95th Brigade. To avenge the victories of their fathers in the Donbass, the Russians deliberately bombed residential buildings in Zhytomyr where their wives and children live.

Look at the museum of the Ukrainian artist Maria Pryimachenko burned down by the invaders in Ivankovo, or at the plundered Kamianytsia Lyzohub — a 17th century monument in Sedniv. Where the Russian soldier passes, there remains a strip of fires, looted shops and broken ATMs.

And of course the shooting of the largest European nuclear power plant, the shelling of the experimental nuclear reactor in Kharkiv, and the holding hostage of Chernobyl workers.

And most importantly, the enemy does not hide his goal, the eradication of everything Ukrainian, of Ukraine itself. The leadership of Russia, the Russian president himself has repeatedly called our country a historical mistake. And the Ukrainian people were denied the right to exist.

Eight years ago, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians came out to the capital’s Maidan and said “No!” President Yanukovych, instead of the promised Association Agreement with the European Union, was preparing to give the country to Russia. Having paid with more than a hundred lives, they then won.

But these unarmed heroes could not oppose the Russian invasion. Russia then was able to occupy Crimea and most of the Donbass almost without a fight.

The size of the territory, the population, the military potential of our countries are incomparable. So, the invaders were counting on exactly the same easy result now. Taking two days to capture the Ukrainian capital. And they were very surprised that they were not met with flowers and open arms.

All these eight years, yesterday’s students, managers, and IT workers have been learning to fight. They joke in Ukraine, that there are not so many MBA’s in any army in the world. The new Russian invasion was met by a completely different country, steel will, courage, the courage of which was tempered by Putin himself.

From the very first days of the Russian invasion, they debunked the myth about the invincibility of Russian weapons, about the effectiveness of their military strategy. Not only professional soldiers, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Ukrainians, men and women, signed up for the territorial defense. And where they don’t have organized territorial defense, the inhabitants of villages and cities, unarmed, stand in the way of the tank columns of the invaders.

In the first week of the war alone, 2,000 civilians were killed. Over 50 children have been killed and more than a hundred have been injured. Among the fallen heroes there are women. I will name just a couple of names… The first Ukrainian fighter pilot Natalia Perakov, volunteer, veteran Irina Tsvila… .

Over two million Ukrainians are forced to leave their homes. Besieged by the Russians, but stubbornly fighting cities are on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe… But they’re not giving up. In the occupied cities of Kherson, Melitopol, Nova Kahovka and others people are going outside to protest daily despite bullets flying over their heads.

Ukrainians absolutely have the courage to defend their land and homes, but in order to stop the endless iron flow from the east and north, they are in desperate need of weapons and ammunition. We will fight in the struggle for our freedom and yours, we will fight and win.

We appreciate and thank our allies and friends for their help. Not only governments, but hundeds of thousands of regular people and celebrities. It’s worth noting the initiative by Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. Everyone is helping however they can.

Those remaining in Ukraine need this help the most. Those who are under fire from the Russian fascist bombs and are begging our allies to close the skies over Ukraine. Unfortunately, their pleading falls on deaf ears in Washington and Europe. Just like the warnings of Putin’s madness over the past 8 years.

Ukraine cannot lose a war in which the people fight for their land and freedom, while the other side fights for Putin’s palaces and the yachts of the oligarchs. And, as it is now customary to say, Glory to Ukraine!