Russian baths in San Francisco offering free admission to Ukrainians this weekend as a show of solidarity


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — A Russian bathhouse in San Francisco is showing its support for Ukraine with free admission, considering Saturday and Sunday “Ukraine Weekend.”

Abhishek Vaidya is general manager of the Hunter’s Point neighborhood spa and sent out a newsletter to tens of thousands of people on their mailing list on Thursday evening, in a show of solidarity with Ukraine.

“It doesn’t matter what car you’re driving when you park outside, what you’re wearing. Once you’re inside, everyone is equal.”

This is the spirit behind the message, which is also prominently displayed on their website. This is the “Ukrainian Weekend” where free entry will be given to Ukrainian passport holders.

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“The response has been amazing. There are a lot of Ukrainian families who have been separated and they just want to talk to someone,” Vaidya said. “The most important thing I want people to know is that it’s not the Russian people. Many of our Russian customers stand in solidarity with our Ukrainian customers as well.”

Also at the spa was client Nikita Smirnoff, who is from Russia. He shares a house in San Francisco with Ukrainians.

“When I see their reactions, they have moms and dads and sisters and all those bombing pictures, it’s really awful,” Smirnoff said.

He always tries to process what he feels.

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“I don’t know how Russians in Russia accept this because it’s such propaganda. It’s a shame for our country,” he says.

Although Archimedes Banya knows that free admission will not create world peace, it will start a conversation. One that they hope more people will join.

“You asked me to go in front of the camera, I hesitated. But someone has to speak, if it’s me, it’s me”, smiles Vaidya.

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