Russian bath house in SF shows solidarity by offering free admission to Ukrainians

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Russian bath house in San Francisco is showing support for Ukraine with free admission, deeming Saturday and Sunday the "Weekend of Ukraine."

Abhishek Vaidya is general manager of the spa in the Hunter's Point neighborhood, and sent out a newsletter to tens of thousands on their email list Thursday night, showing solidarity with Ukraine.

"It doesn't matter what car you drive when you park outside, what you're wearing. Once you're on the inside, everybody is equal."

That's the spirit behind the message, which is also prominently displayed on their website. This is the "Weekend of Ukraine" where free admission will be granted to those with Ukrainian passports.

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"The response has been amazing. There are a lot of Ukrainian families that have been separated and they just want to talk to somebody," Vaidya said. "The biggest thing I want people to know is that it's not the Russian people. Lots of our Russian clients are in solidarity with our Ukrainian clients as well."

Also at the spa, was customer Nikita Smirnoff, who is from Russia. He is sharing a home in San Francisco with those from Ukraine.

"When I see their reactions, they have moms and dads and sisters and all of those pictures of bombings, it's really awful," Smirnoff said.

He is still trying to process how to feel.

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"I don't know how Russian people in Russia accept this because it's such propaganda. It's a shame for our country," he says.

While Archimedes Banya knows free admission won't create world peace, it will start a conversation. One they hope more people will join.

"You asked me to go on camera, I was hesitant. But someone's gotta speak up, if it's me, it's me," smiles Vaidya.

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