Ukraine: Jewish Family Fights Against Putin: ‘We Will Definitely Win!’ – Policy abroad

Ascher Tscherkasskij (52) and his son David (20) can only laugh bitterly at the fact that Kremlin dictator Vladimir Putin (69) wants to “denazify” Ukraine. Because both are not only Ukrainians and Ukrainian Territorial Defense soldiers – but also religious Jews.

And since the first day of the war, they fought side by side against the Russian invaders!

In the BILD interview, Ascher recalls waking up his son at 5 a.m. on February 24 when the war suddenly started. “I only had a few minutes to pack my bags and leave. I’m a reserve soldier,” says Ascher. All he said to David was “everything will be fine”. And: “We will definitely win.”

At first, Ascher did not want his son to join the Ukrainian Armed Forces. “I actually wanted him to go through with his plans, finish his studies and then emigrate to Israel,” Ascher explains. When there were no exit restrictions for men his age in the early days of the war, David could have emigrated to Israel without any problems, since he is Jewish. Far from the great war in Europe.


Serving Together in the Ukrainian Army: Son David and Father AsherFoto: Lars Berg

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Serving Together in the Ukrainian Army: Son David and Father AsherPhoto: Lars Berg

But David decided otherwise. “Since the start of the war, he hasn’t listened to me, no matter what I say. I told him that I will work here for both of us. But he has made up his mind. He’s an adult,” Ascher says.

The father says proudly, “And I like that decision.” Because: “To me, that means I raised a real person.”

For David, there was never any question of him defending his country against the Russian invaders. When he was about to finish his studies and start working as a computer programmer in a company abroad, he gave up everything and joined the Ukrainian territorial defense.


They serve together, they pray together: the two religious Jews put on the phylacteriesFoto: Lars Berg

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They serve together, they pray together: the two religious Jews donning the phylacteriesPhoto: Lars Berg

Instead of an office job with a high salary, it’s now: always waiting with a Kalashnikov in his hand. But he doesn’t see it as a sacrifice – but as a duty. His great role model: his father, who went to the front at the start of the Russian attack in eastern Ukraine in 2014 to fight against the Russians and pro-Russian separatists.

“My dad stood up for me, my friends, my family, our country in 2014. How could I make another decision?” David said.


Asher Cherkassky before prayerFoto: Lars Berg

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Asher Cherkassky before prayerPhoto: Lars Berg

Your hometown of Dnipro has so far been spared a major Russian offensive. But again and again there are rocket attacks on the city. Russian special forces attempt to enter Dnipro and scout the city for a possible invasion. Together, Ascher and David Tscherkasskij do everything to thwart Russian plans and defend their city.

David was 12 when his father defended Ukraine during the first Russian attack. A child who worried about his beloved father. Now David is a man – doing the duty that so many Ukrainian men take for granted. Even if it can be deadly.


Father and son pray between their homework.  Just like their ancestors didFoto: Lars Berg

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Father and son pray between their homework. Just like their ancestors didPhoto: Lars Berg

Russians kill ‘with great pleasure’

It is clear to them that Putin is not solely responsible for the war. But a large part of the Russian population.

“It’s not Putin who shoots. It’s not Putin who supplies his army,” says Ascher Cherkassky. “Nor does Putin point his guns at the cities where our citizens live in peace. Putin does not press the button to fire a missile at Mariupol hospital or Dnipro airport. It’s not Putin who does this, it’s the citizens of the Russian Federation. And they seem to do it with great pleasure.


Even while drinking coffee, Ascher and David Tscherkasskij do not lay down their armsFoto: Lars Berg

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Even while drinking coffee, Ascher and David Tscherkasskij do not lay down their armsPhoto: Lars Berg

Since Bucha at the latest, it has become clear that as long as Russian soldiers are in Ukraine, terror and violence will prevail. The images of the massacre bring tears to Ascher’s eyes. “It is a great pain. The pain of our people. And the hatred for those who committed it. These Russians are animals,” the religious Jew says.

He would never have thought that he would have to see such images in Ukraine. Not after all that people had to go through in World War II.


Ascher Tscherkasskij with BILD journalist Filipp Piatov in DniproFoto: Lars Berg

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Ascher Tscherkasskij with BILD journalist Filipp Piatov in DniproPhoto: Lars Berg

“What is happening in Mariupol, Kharkiv and many other cities in Ukraine is not a battle between two armies. It is the annihilation of a people. The Ukrainian people,” says Ascher.

To defend this people, Asher and David will fight side by side. They don’t want to make bad compromises with the Russians, but rather fight until the last Russian soldier leaves Ukraine. And the terror finally stops.

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