Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Women soldiers join Ukraine’s war against Russia in historic numbers

By 37ci3 Feb21,2024

Liutikova, nicknamed “Liutik”, was a playwright from the capital Kyiv before the war. He voluntarily joined the army in March 2022, a few days after the Russian invasion, and currently serves as a combat medic.

“Soldiers still don’t have time to lose heart,” Liutikova said in English.

“You know why you fight,” he said. “Our goal is very important to us.”

This appointment is a victory for Ukraine and is facing increasing odds.

Sitting next to Liutikova, another female soldier who goes by the sign “Mavka,” said she still feels the anger that drove her to join the army two years ago — seeing the devastation and the loss of Ukraine’s civilian population keeps her going. . “It makes me do my job,” he said in English, wearing a helmet with a military bandage around his neck.

Mavka, who did not want to be named because of his role in the military, is a sniper and drone operator. He also joined the armed forces in the early days of the war and took part in some of the heaviest fighting, including near the city of Bakhmut, which Russia captured after months of brutal fighting last year.

Ukrainian Women Elgel War
Lyutikova, known by the call sign “Lyutik”, works in an undisclosed location in the frontline.given to NBC News

Many other Ukrainian women have made the same choice.

According to the figures announced by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine last November, more than 43 thousand women are currently serving in the armed forces of Ukraine. This number has increased by 40% since 2021, the ministry said. According to the figures, more than 18,000 serving women have children, including more than 2,500 single mothers.

According to the ministry, women also perform more traditionally male roles in the military, such as drivers, machine gunners, snipers and commanders. The age limit for those who can register has been raised from 40 to 60. Due to the shortage of soldiers, efforts are being made to attract more women to these ranks.

Liutikova and Mavka, like most women who serve in the army, volunteered, but a new law is being drafted and it is possible that women will soon be conscripted like the country’s men.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the country’s high command often use the feminine derivation of the Ukrainian word “defender” to acknowledge both the men and women who defend the country.

Still, both women told NBC News that they encountered what Mavka, a bartender in Kiev before the war, called “friendly sexism” by her male colleagues.

Ukrainian Engel Women Soldiers
Drone operator Mavka said cases of “friendly sexism” are not uncommon in the military as more women join.Carlos Huazano/NBC News

Some soldiers question why women are on the front line in the first place instead of staying home and raising children. Mavka, 24, added: “I think they do it out of love and compassion.” “But I get upset when I hear that.”

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it has taken many measures to make women feel more comfortable while serving, including special accommodation and toilets, as well as clothing and protective equipment suitable for women. Ministry earlier this month he said female soldiers received, for the first time, custom-made summer field suits designed for women.

Ukraine’s manpower shortage is exacerbated by a delay in new military aid from Washington.

Both women said they closely followed the events and disagreements in Congress.

“It is sad. It makes me sad. This is not only our war,” Liutikova said. “I don’t understand why we are having this conversation?” Yes, I know, because it’s money. Because it’s politics and everything. What do you think they will stop in Ukraine? And that’s all? I don’t think so.”

The women fear the war will turn into a frozen conflict like the years-long struggle against Russian-backed separatists in the east.

U.S. aid is crucial to prevent this from happening, the women said.

“Russia is evil right now,” Mavka added. “I think it is unfair that we have such a neighbor. And we need your help, guys. We need your help.”

Richard Engel and Charlotte Gardiner reported from Kostiantynivka, and Yuliya Talmazan reported from London.

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By 37ci3

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