A top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that there are dozens of Jewish soldiers fighting at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
“There are about 40 Jewish heroes protecting Azovstal now,” David Arachhamia, the adviser in charge of the Ukrainian negotiating delegation, told The Times of Israel on Friday.
He also heads the Aramachy of Zelensky’s ruling Servant of the People’s Party in Parliament.
One of the Ukrainian units still standing in the steel mill is the Azov Battalion, a formation that has been accused since its formation in 2014 of links to neo-Nazi ideology. These allegations were central to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s justification for the invasion of Ukraine, after he said at the start of the war that Russia’s goal was “the disarmament and disarmament of Nazism” in the country.
The unit was absorbed into the National Guard in September 2014, and Ukrainian officials insist the regiment has been completely professionalized and politicized.
Arakhma vehemently denied Russian allegations of neo-Naziism in the Azov Regiment. He declared, “These accusations are silly by default.” “Many people know these soldiers and find these accusations offensive.”
The huge Azovstal steel complex is the last stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol. The station, with its network of tunnels and bunkers, housed hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians during a weeks-long siege. Dozens of civilians were recently evacuated, but Ukrainian officials said some may still be trapped there.
One of the Jewish soldiers referred to by Zelensky’s advisor fired A video Last week he called on Israel to rescue the besieged Azovstal Barracks.
at message Sent by Kyiv-based businessman and activist Ilham Gasanov, Vitaly Barabash said in Ukrainian, “It is hard for me to speak, so my brother will say my speech on behalf of all the Ukrainian Jews who are here with me.”
Barabash, also known as Benya, held a Ukrainian flag in front of the camera while his friend read his statement, a Star of David tattoo clearly visible on Barabash’s hand.
Addressing “Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the Knesset, the public in Israel,” and prominent Ukrainian Jews, Barabash declared that “in the ruins left of Azovstaly there are Jews like me, like you.”
Earlier this month in a communicate With the Kremlin, Bennett asked Putin to “examine the humanitarian options” to evacuate Mariupol.
The Azov Regiment published pictures on its Telegram channel last Wednesday, showing wounded soldiers in a dire condition, with many missing limbs.
“Ukraine has never turned its back on the Jews, so we believe that Israel may not turn its back on the Ukrainian people either, but is standing shoulder to shoulder against the Russian invaders who have caused a new tragedy,” Barabash’s statement read.
“Now we, being here, need Israel’s help in withdrawing the entire military garrison in Mariupol and call for rescue.”
Ghassanov told The Times of Israel that he has never met Barabash in person, and is doing what he can to help the beleaguered Azovstal garrison after his friends’ wives reach out to him.
“I know many Jews who are currently at war, and not just in Mariupol,” he said.
Victory in the West Fighting in the East
Ukrainian forces were battling a fierce Russian offensive in the east of the country on Sunday, after the Eurovision victory gave the country a much-needed boost to morale.
Zelensky warned on Saturday that the war in his country could cause global food shortages, adding that the situation in Ukraine’s Donbass was “extremely difficult”.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, has increasingly turned its attention to the east of the country since the end of March, after failing to capture the capital, Kyiv.
Western analysts believe that Putin has set his sights on annexing southern and eastern Ukraine in the coming months, but his forces appear to be facing stiff resistance.
Russia’s war in Ukraine is increasingly altering the balance of power in Europe, as Finland and Sweden prepare to abandon decades of military non-alignment to join NATO as a defense against further fearsome aggression from Moscow.
Helsinki officially announced its offer of membership on Sunday.
But as a conflict that has displaced millions from the three-month threshold, Ukrainians got a much-needed boost of optimism as a rap lullaby combining hip-hop rhythms and folklore won the Eurovision Song Contest.
“Stefania,” which topped a slate of super works at the quirky annual music event, was written by Frontman Ole Pesios as a tribute to his pre-war mother — but its nostalgic lyrics have taken on significant meaning due to the conflict.
“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Psiuk said in English from the podium, referring to the underground steel mills in the coastal city where Russian troops are besieging Ukrainian soldiers.
There was also optimism from the head of military intelligence in Kyiv, who told Britain’s Sky News on Saturday that the war could reach a “breaking point” by August and end with Russia’s defeat before the end of the year.
Major General Kirillo Budanov told the news network that he was “optimistic” about the current course of the conflict.
AFP contributed to this report.
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