The Latest on Ukraine

Yelena Goltsman, RUSA LGBTQ+ founder and CBST member, shared these remarks at CBST Kabbalat Shabbat services on February 25, 2022:

Putin attacked the sovereign and independent country of Ukraine. Many of us believed this would happen after the Olympics, but were still blindly hoping for peace. Not even Ukrainian citizens who have been fighting Russian aggression for the past eight years could fathom the reality of the present situation. 

A full-fledged war has broken out in Ukraine, in the heart of Europe in the 21st century. The events of the past 48 hours are so unreal to many of us that our minds struggle to process the facts. But now we have no choice and nowhere to hide. The war, with all its cruelty, loss of innocent lives, and also with the heroism and resolve of the Ukrainian people, defending their homeland is on its way.

We know that Ukrainian military forces are no match to the Russian military. But we must not lose hope for the Ukrainian people. Ukrainians are strong, they are determined in their resolve to be free, to defend the independence of their country. They showed it to us in the 2004 Orange Revolution, in the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, and they’re going to do it again.

But they need our help.

I urge you not to believe any information unless you can verify the source. Psychological attacks are effective, as effective as military ones. Please do not share the information you’re not sure about. And please do not believe a word out of Putin’s mouth.

Already, the Russian offensive is not as successful as they hope to be. They’re not moving as fast as they planned. Putin’s success depends on the speed of its force. Ukraine is a vast country and the longer troops are in Ukraine, the more likely they are to lose.

We need to help Ukraine right now.

CBST shared information on their Facebook page and on their website on how you can help. This information [which is also provided below this transcript] is provided and verified by our LGBTIQ Ukrainian friends. Please donate, call, email your elected officials. The simple texts for the phone calls and emails are provided there.

Unfortunately, my Ukrainian friends feel abandoned by the West. They are desperate for your help and support. Please do what you can and do it now. There is no time to waste. Putin is trying to break Ukrainian resolve quickly. He’s bombing Ukrainian cities and killing citizens. Ukrainians are in a battle for their capital, Kyiv.

Kyiv also happens to be my hometown. I have family and friends that are hiding in bomb shelters from Putin’s offensive right now. As you can imagine, this is heartbreaking for me, but so much more heartbreak for people caught in Putin’s insane grab for power.

We’re not guilty of what is happening. But we are all responsible. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the 20th century. I urge you to find it in your heart to help in any way you can.

I want to share with you a text that I received from Lenny, who is an organizer of Kyiv Pride. They were here a few years ago visiting CBST as well.

“I’m safe and sound because I’m out of Ukraine. My family and my team are not. I’ve spent the day today trying to organize evacuation, but it is not possible. People are running and roads are blocked. People are terrified. And my question, How can we help? They answered: Make a political statement now, call the US to act, finally. Please push them. We are left alone.”

Please find a few minutes to go to CBST website and make your voice heard. Thank you.

* * * * *

These are the resources Yelena referred to in her remarks:

Call/write to the White House and our elected officials to ask for immediate economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine:

Contact Your U.S. Senators
Contact Your U.S. Representatives
Contact the White House online; call the White House: 202-456-1111

Donate to the Ukrainian military, medical and humanitarian assistance:

The National Bank of Ukraine has opened a special account to raise funds for the Ukrainian Army. Anyone from any country can donate! The account is multi-currency. It is open for transfers of funds from international partners and donors, any person, and any Ukrainian business and citizens:

For donations in USD:
Account: 400807238
383 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10179
Bank account: UA843000010000000047330992708

Or donate to:

US Ukrainian Activists

Hospitallers (This group works directly on the frontlines)

Get the very latest live updates from The New York Times on this page dedicated to the attack on Ukraine.

CBST is grateful to Yelena Goltsman, CBST member and RUSA founder, for her expertise and suggestions right now, and for directing us to trusted, effective people doing the most important work right now.

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