On the front line of war in ukrainewomen risk their lives to protect their country from russian invasion. In the imagination that involves a conflict like this, it is common for military women and professionals from the most diverse areas on a battlefield to be forgotten, but they have always been present.
In her work on the role of women in the former Soviet Union during World War II, the Ukrainian writer Svetlana Aleksiévitch, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, stressed that “war has a woman’s face”, with her fellow countrymen it would be no different.
“I chose the military profession, which means that my main role is to protect the citizens of Ukraine,” says Khrystyna, who is currently fighting on the battlefields.
The Ukrainian spoke exclusively to the R7 and asked not to be identified by last name as he was working directly on the front lines and feared for his safety from the exposure.
For much of the world, the war between Kiev and Moscow began with the invasion of Ukrainian territory on February 24. However, for Khrystyna and many other fellow countrymen, this struggle has been going on for years. “Russia started the war against Ukraine in 2014 when it occupied Crimea and the Donbass region. Putin and the Russian Federation are now trying to take over all of Ukraine and intimidate the whole world.”
According to the Ukraine World multimedia project, in March 2020, 29,760 women were part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “Since the start of the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014, they have taken on all possible roles in the army and volunteer battalions, serving as paramedics, snipers and operating machine guns.”
Khrystyna was among the women serving in the east of the country after the Russian advance. “After the 2014 invasion, all Ukrainians realized that defending Ukraine is genderless,” she concludes.
Beside her, Katerina Prymak worked as a paramedic in the region. “The hardest thing is seeing the death of our brothers and sisters in the Army. A person gets used to everything: new conditions, discomfort, difficult tasks… but not with death.”
For Katerina, the hostility of Russia’s invasion of Donbass was “just a rehearsal”. She explains that the period of invasion was terrible for those who lived in the east of the country, just as the entire country now faces the terror of war. “Many had to flee, some for the second time.”
Currently, Katerina is part of the Ukrainian Army Veteran Women’s Movement and works providing humanitarian aid amid the Russian advance in Kiev. “When Russia invaded the entire territory of our country, most members of our movement returned to the ranks of their units and are now at war.”
“My Army sisters and I, who stayed in the capital, set up a rapid reaction warehouse to be useful. We were joined by dozens of people and acquaintances who became volunteers. We all started to respond to the needs of civilians and military that we can help,” says the paramedic.
Refugees and war crimes
In the midst of Russian army offensives, more than 4 million Ukrainians decided to leave their country, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Despite the great crisis, the negotiation between the parties to the conflict does not seem to advance.
Last Wednesday (30), Russian Presidency spokesman Dmitri Peskov said that negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul, Turkey, did not produce promising results. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials accuse Russia of bombing regions where it has promised a truce, such as the capital Kiev.
“The Ukrainian government is trying to evacuate civilians from the war zone, organizing humanitarian green corridors and humanitarian aid. However, Russian troops are obstructing government activities, looting aid and shooting in peaceful corridors”, denounces Khrystyna when talking about an “absolute genocide” of the Ukrainian people.
The two women who work on the front lines insist on help from NATO countries, however they say that current efforts are not enough.
Katerina explains that “there is the impression that countries with powerful armies are just watching us try to destroy Putin, an uncontrollable man. We need allied forces, we need weapons, we need NATO countries to close the skies. What is happening in Chernihiv, Mariupol and Kharkiv are war crimes.” The Russian government denies targeting Ukrainian civilians.
For colleague Khrystyna, “NATO and the European Union must understand that this is not a war against Ukraine, it is a war against the entire civilized world. They must do everything possible to stop Russia and Putin, who must not have the influence or resources to continue this war and kill innocent people in order to fulfill their unhealthy ambitions.”
Number of refugees from Ukraine is greater than the population of Uruguay and would lot 51 Maracanãs