Street in Kharkiv named after Jewish soldier who died saving children in Israel

Council of Ukraine's second largest city has decided to memorialize native son Alexei Niakov for his heroic actions in 1998, stopping terrorists from blowing up a school bus in Gush Katif, saving the lives of dozens of children

In a heartfelt Ukrainian gesture during the ongoing war with Russia, Sergeant Alexei Niakov, who heroically saved dozens of children during a 1998 attack in Gush Katif, has been honored in his birthplace, Kharkiv, Ukraine. The local city council voted to dedicate a street name to him in the city, which faces frequent heavy attacks due to its proximity to the Russian border.
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 סמל אלכסיי (אשר) נייקוב ז"ל
 סמל אלכסיי (אשר) נייקוב ז"ל
Sgt. Alexei Niakov
This marks the first instance of a street outside Israel being named after a fallen IDF soldier. Niakov, who moved to Israel in 1996, was a member of the Engineering Corps. He was killed in a terrorist attack in Gush Katif while preventing terrorists from detonating an explosive device against two buses containing 36 children.
The attack took place near Kfar Darom, a now-evacuated settlement in the Gaza Strip. The terrorists, who arrived in an explosives-laden car, intended to crash into a bus, but were blocked by a military jeep. The car detonated upon colliding with the jeep, killing Niakov and injuring two other soldiers. These soldiers' actions ensured the children on the bus remained unharmed.
The proposal to name the street after Niakov was initiated by Shimon Briman, an Israeli-Ukrainian historian and journalist, also from Kharkiv, who submitted a letter to the city council. Simultaneously, Israel's ambassador to Ukraine, Michael Brodsky, and the chief rabbi of Kharkiv supported the initiative with a letter to the city's mayor.
"In all of Ukraine, there’s a movement to rename streets as part of a political effort to remove names associated with the Russian enemy. I provided the city council with 20 names of notable Jews from Kharkiv, including Niakov, who is not only an Israeli hero but also a figure well-recognized among former Soviet immigrants in Israel," Briman explained.
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שער "ידיעות אחרונות" ביום שאחרי ניסיון הפיגוע
שער "ידיעות אחרונות" ביום שאחרי ניסיון הפיגוע
The Israeli cover a day later, from Yedioth Ahronoth
"Hundreds still remember him, and there are more than 120 children who owe their lives to him from that incident in 1998, seeing as they are the children of those he saved. A group of Israelis maintain contact with Alexei's parents, nearly all of whom were displaced from Gush Katif. Some families have even named their children after him," according to the letter.
What is particularly poignant, Briman pointed out, is that the Kharkiv council chose to rename the street where the Jewish school that Niakov once attended as a child, School No. 170, is located. Furthermore, Briman revealed that the city council also decided to name streets after two other prominent Jews who were murdered by the Nazis."The decision was made by the city council and signed off by the mayor," according to Briman.
Brodsky commented on the deep and emotional ties between the two countries, saying: "The commemoration of an Israeli hero in a Ukrainian city under intense bombardment further underscores the strong connection."
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