While representing her country at the 2015 Miss Universe beauty pageant in Miami on Sunday, Ukrainian model Diana Haruska highlighted the increasingly-aggressive Russian action against her country and urged everyone to support the Ukrainian armed forces.
When asked by pageant judges about Ukraine’s greatest contribution to the world, the 19-year-old seemed to misunderstand the question, instead answering what she felt Ukraine most needed from her people and the world at this time.
“Now we have a very difficult situation in our country,” she said in Ukrainian. “And right now, the very most important contribution is to direct all of our energies to support our army and our people.” The crowd cheered in response.
With Islamist-fueled violence in the Middle East and Europe taking center stage, the slow-motion Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine has recently garnered little media attention. But the recent seizure of the devastated Donestk airport to Russian troops and pro-Russian separatists illustrates that – despite a supposed cease fire — heavy fighting continues. And the Ukrainians are losing.
Haruska won second runner-up at the Miss Universe pageant, behind Miss Colombia and Miss U.S.A. She hails from Kharkiv, an eastern Ukrainian city with a large ethnic Russian population. Many observers expect Russian President Vladmir Putin to claim that city as part of “Novorossiya” (New Russia) should Ukrainian forces continue to lose ground.