Violinist Vera Lytovchenko is opening up about her astoundingly brave performance in a Ukrainian bomb shelter, and despite deadly attacks in her hometown ... says she won't back down to the Russians.
Vera, a member of the Kharkiv City Opera Orchestra, joined us Thursday from Kharkiv, where 21 civilians had been killed earlier in the day. While Vera and most of her neighbors are sheltering, she's tugged at heartstrings around the world with a performance that's gone viral.
She told us on "TMZ Live" she got the idea to play music in her local bomb shelter from one of her violin students ... who did the same thing in a train station. Vera says she thought, "This young girl, 18 years old, is so brave. I can do something like this."
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She hoped it could make a difference and keep people's minds off of the horrors of the Russian invasion ... and after posting some clips she found her comment section flooded with powerful messages.
Vera says she's been told her music is helping fellow Ukrainians who feel alone in these uncertain times.
The war literally hit too close to home for Vera recently when a bomb went off near her apartment. She's used social media to show the destruction.
Even in the face of that danger, she explained why she'll never leave Kharkiv. Saying her grandmother's grave is a few blocks away.
Vera is working with a friend to raise money for local musicians who've been affected by the war ... and says the money raised will help rebuild the music college, the conservatory and even go to struggling music students.
She's asking anyone who can help to visit her Instagram for details.