Ex-Miss Ukraine recounts escape from war with 7-year-old son

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Ex-Miss Ukraine recounts escape from war with 7-year-old son

A former Miss Ukraine on Tuesday recounted her treacherous journey to escape her war-torn Eastern Europe nation with her son — while begging the US to “close the sky” and stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “terrorism.”

The 2018 beauty queen, Veronika Didusenko, described the moment Feb. 24 when she and her 7-year-old son were “awaked by sirens and explosions” in the country’s capital of Kyiv.

“In between raids, we — along with tens of thousands of families — tried to get out of the city,” she said at a news conference in Los Angeles with women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred.

The former beauty queen said she drove to Ukraine’s western border, an excruciatingly slow process, as thousands of cars created massive traffic jams as the country came under Russian attack.

“Directly above my head, dozens of helicopters with their troops were bombing … As I was fleeing with my young son, I could see there was a real air battle above our head,” she said.


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On the mother and son’s journey to the border, there was “no place where sirens did not sound, where rockets with bombs did not explode,” Didusenko said.

“It was horrible, so many children and mothers just trying to get to the border. What is more violent at the moment, the Russian militaries sometimes stopped and shot innocent people trying to escape,” she continued.

Miss Ukraine 2018 Veronika Didusenko and women's rights attorney Gloria Allred hold Ukrainian national flag during a news conference.
Veronika Didusenko fled Ukraine with her 7-year-old son after waking up to “sirens and explosions.”
David Buchan for NY Post
Miss Ukraine 2018 Veronika Didusenko and women's rights attorney Gloria Allred hold Ukrainian national flag during a news conference organised to speak about fleeing the war in Ukraine with her son.
Didusenko was joined by women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred to share her story.
David Buchan for NY Post

Didusenko’s mother and grandparents are still in Kyiv. She and her son made it to Luxembourg and then Geneva, Switzerland, where they were staying with family.

She said she fears Putin won’t stop until he achieves the “eradication of everything Ukrainian and Ukraine itself” and says calls for more help coming from Ukrainians are “falling on deaf ears in Washington and Europe.

“Close the skies over Ukraine,” she demanded, referencing the repeated call by Ukrainian officials for other countries to institute a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine, which Putin said would amount to a declaration of world war. “People are dying in shelters with no food, no water, no light, no warmth. It is a tragedy. It is terrorism.”

Didusenko and her son
Didusenko recounted that dozens of helicopters dropping bombs flew overhead as she and her son made their escape.
Veronika Didusenko
Didusenko-ukraine
Didusenko was crowned Miss Ukraine in 2018, but was stripped of her title after it was discovered she was a divorced mother.
Didusenko/Facebook, David Buchan for NY Post

Didusenko was crowned Miss Ukraine in 2018 but had her title stripped from her after pageant officials discovered she was divorced and had a child, which apparently disqualified her from the competition.

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