Mikhail Andronik: Women at War in Donbass – International Women’s Day

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



No military conflict takes place without the participation of the fair sex. And if the presence of woman in the HQs is commonplace, then at the frontline and in the trenches they can be seen much less often.

A Private of the Armed Forces of the DPR

The armed standoff in the Southeast of Ukraine, like any civil war, struck families and family ties, and in this situation the women couldn’t stand aside, and many took up arms to protect their families, children, and homes.

Many went to fight after one of their relatives was killed or their house was turned into ruins.

Ekaterina Panfilova, a medic, and the only woman to be awarded the star of the Hero of the DPR

Somehow it historically happened in Donbass that a female medic or radio operator is nothing out of the ordinary.

The profession of the sniper is very popular among the young women of Donbass. Although this profession is very difficult, with non-human physical and psychological stress.

Alena, a sniper of one of the units of the DPR Armed Forces

Just think about it – it’s winter, the temperature is -20 degrees Celsius, a sniper tracks a target. This can continue for a whole day, maybe two, three, and only then does he go to work. Can you imagine what consequences there can be for the female body to remain motionless in a snowdrift somewhere for several days.

A female tank crew of the DPR Armed Forces

In addition to snipers, in the DPR Armed Forces in one of the tank battalions there is an entirely female tank crew, which not only acts as a tank battalion and poses in front of the cameras, but also directly carries out military operations.

Two girls living for the fourth year in a basement in Spartak

But girls and women can be found not only in the trenches at the frontline. The contact line runs through many settlements, which have been consequently destroyed, but nevertheless many inhabitants didn’t want to leave their homes. Just imagine how much effort is needed by the presented girls from Spartak to not just survive under daily shelling, but also to maintain their hygiene and appearance, in the conditions of a lack of water, gas, and electricity. And despite all of this they go to school every day 10km from their house, and it should be noted that they study hard.

The vehicle of a female tank crew of one of the units of the DPR Armed Forces

I want to wish that all young girls and women never have to face in their life these hardships and difficulties, so that they never have to study the art of war. Live in peace, and be happy! Happy holiday to you, on international Women’s Day!

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