Protestors gathered outside SPAC in support of Ukraine

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Updated: 7/29 11:01 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Ukraine supporters protested outside SPAC Tuesday as the Russian ballet was set to perform.

The Russian state ballet company, Bolshoi Ballet, performed at SPAC Tuesday. Protestors wanted to use the ballet as their attempt to shed light on the war.

Protestors sang the Ukraine National Anthem as ballet attendees entered the venue.

Myron Swiderski was born in the Ukraine, survived a Nazi labor camp, and later immigrated to Amsterdam, N.Y. He said the United States and Europe are not doing enough to thwart Putin.

“[They] are very reluctant to put the pedal to the ground against Putin,” he said.

Swiderski believes the sanctions mean nothing to Putin.

“He laughed at them,” he said.

Swiderski and others hope to educate the public about what they said Ukraine is fighting for.

“Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press,” protest organizer Dr. Andrij Baran said. “That’s what we’re fighting for.”

Baran said the protestors do not have any issues with the dancers, patrons or the art. But since the Bolshoi Ballet is a Russian state company, it sides with Russia in the war in Ukraine.

“At some measure, the benefits of this concert is feeding those bullets,” Baran said.

Baran said those bullets are killing innocent people.

“Not to let people dance while other people die without some voice being heard for the victims,” he said.

And while ballet attendees said the protests didn’t impact the performance, most supported the protestors’ rights.

“I think that’s good that they protest because it’s horrible what’s happening there,” Barbara Kapusciska said. “I think Americans don’t know enough about what happens in different parts of the world, unfortunately.”

Swiderski said Russia is a two-faced country.

“Yet they have an ugly face of Stalin, Lennon and now Putin,” he said.

The protestors also raised money to purchase first aid lots to send to Ukraine to help those caught in the crossfire.

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