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Flash mob held on Laguna’s Main Beach urges continued support for Ukraine

Ukrainian flash mob gathering on Wednesday at Main Beach boardwalk in Laguna Beach.
Ukrainian flash mob gathering on Wednesday at Main Beach boardwalk in Laguna Beach. Lidiia Zamaraieva is at center with Constantine Borysenko shows the peace sign behind.
(Susan Hoffman)

Horns honked in support as drivers made their way along Pacific Coast Highway past a group of Ukrainian people holding the huge blue and yellow banner, shouting: “Slava Ukraine! — Glory to Ukraine” and “Heroyam Slava! — Glory to Heroes!”

The flash mob took place Wednesday evening on the Main Beach boardwalk in Laguna Beach with the intent to support the extraction of people from Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

Costa Mesa resident and Ukraine native Lidiia Zamaraieva was the designated local organizer of the event. The flash mob idea came from an all-volunteer Vienna-based group representing different organizations to show support for Ukrainians.

“We will make a video, including singing our national anthem, and they will add all of the footages from around the globe to support and influence future actions,” explained Zamaraieva. “The video will be posted online to media platforms, diplomats, think tanks, activists, journalists to bring attention to world leaders.

“There are so many people all over the world supporting and demanding extraction of civilians and military from Azovstal. We demand safe extraction.”

Zamaraieva raises concern about the complicated situation in Azovstal and Mariupol with injured people, surgeries that are being performed without necessary medical equipment, the lack of food and water, and an inability to connect with the outside world.

“It’s unknown how many civilians are still there,” said Zamaraieva. “Some people were able to extract, some people were taken hostage, leaving Mariupol going through check points by Russians. [There are] filtration camps where Russians are deciding if people [will be allowed to] continue to Ukraine or imprisoned or [if the Russians will] just shoot them.”

She noted there are investigative news articles from Ukrainian and British news sources about concentration camps in Russia. One headline (inews.co.uk) read, “Putin sends Mariupol survivors to remote corners of Russia as investigation reveals network of 66 camps,” another, (independent.co.uk) read, “Putin resettling Ukrainians 5,500 miles away in Siberia and far east Russia.”

“This is the 21st century, and concentration camps are built for Ukrainians in Russia?” Zamaraieva said.

“People are slowly dying, but they don’t lose hope, they are fighting strong and need support from international community,” she said.

Among the 25 or so participants in Wednesday’s flash mob in Laguna Beach was a Polish family of four who happened to be on the sand and asked to join in a gesture of support. Also participating was Constantine Borysenko, who drove from his home in Rancho Santa Margarita so that he could be a part of the message.

Borysenko, who has lived in the United States for 17 years, said that he continues to call everyone he knows back home. He was able to bring his mother from Bucha a month ago but his brother is still there.

“Everyone you talk to from Ukraine has a heart wrenching story to tell,” said Borysenko. “I called my friend in Kiev whose father-in-law had cancer and he told me with no medication he had to watch him die and then wrap him in a blanket.

“When I talked to two different people, they are telling me the same story of hearing their children crying, inconsolable, saying ‘Why are bombs falling outside?’

“My biggest concern is people here will forget and move onto maybe the Kardashians,” said Borysenko. “The story is still unfolding, still not over. It is extremely intense and it may look like it, but has not slowed down.”

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