Odessa’s Jews evacuate children and elderly over fears of Russia’s advance

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Odessa’s Jews evacuate children and elderly over fears of Russia’s advance

A Holocaust survivor is among those to leave as the Ukrainian Black Sea city could become Russia's next war target

Odessa’s Jewish community evacuated its most vulnerable members on Monday amid fears the city could be Russia’s next target in the war on Ukraine.

Children and elderly people were among those boarding buses that would take them to safety over the border with Romania.

Among them was six-year-old Eseya and her elder sister Alexandra, 12.

Their parents Konstantin and Irina held back tears as they prepared to leave.

Another passenger was Maya, 91, a Holocaust survivor who lost her immediate family in a Nazi death camp.

Maya’s father, mother, brother and sister all died during the Second World War.

Speaking through an interpreter, she said it was like a second war for her.

She was planning to travel with her family from Romania to the United States.

The evacuation was organised by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a relief agency based in New York.

Odessa was once home to the third-largest population of Jews in the world and still has a large resident Jewish population.

The city occupies a strategically important location on the Black Sea coast and is thought to be a target for the Russian military as it advances from Crimea.

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