Blog 03/31/22 - Women in Combat in Ukraine

With Women History Month we look at Women in the Military particularly those serving in combat in Ukraine. There are 57,000 women in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, this is more than 22.5% of the total army. With multiple fronts, multiple cities women are being required to fight the Russians so this will be one of the best chances to evaluate women in combat on a large & brutal scale.

Vladimir Putin has long had imperialistic ambitions to take control of Ukrainian territory & re-establish a Russian Empire with himself as the new Tsar. Former US President Barack Obama has targeted Putin for criticism suggesting that the Russian President has put the thirst for power over scruples and calling him the leader of a government that resembled a "criminal syndicate."

In “A Promised Land,” the first volume of his presidential memoirs, Obama says Putin reminded him of a modern-day version of the corrupt political bosses that ran US cities in the late 19th & early 20th centuries & with his political start in Chicago he is an expert. Obama had reason to be angry as after criticizing President George W. Bush for the five-day Georgia incursion he was bullied far worse in the 2014 month long annexation of Crimea and his inability to stop the 22 August invasion of Ukraine’s in the Donbas Region.

In 2014, the Ukraine President before Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the female soldiers for serving the Ukrainian people during the Crimea Annexation by Russia: With such women, we will definitely beat the enemy.  President Petro Poroshenko met with female representatives of their security structures who took part in attempts to repel the aggression in the east of Ukraine.

According to Poroshenko, Ukrainian women did not remain aloof after Russia’s aggression, “Starting from 2014, we live in absolutely different realities — in the realities of the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, in the realities of the Russian aggression in the east of our state. And the Ukrainian woman got a very unusual role for her — protecting mother Ukraine together & side by side with men,” Petro Poroshenko noted. “It was always considered that the service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine is a male affair & women have nothing to do there. But look, now more than 25 thousand women serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. There have never been so much women. Maybe women feel a special pain & cannot stay away from these processes,” the President said.

Natalka of the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade

With war raging in Ukraine after 70+ years of peace, in 2014 Ukraine faced a war started by Russia for eight years, since Putin ordered his forces to occupy the Crimea and invaded the Donbas Region. It has to be acknowledged the courage, intellect & grit of the extraordinary women who stepped up in key roles in every aspect of this conflict.

To those fighting on the front lines or supporting the fight to the married women fleeing the violence with their children & older family members. To those in critical first responders, journalists & geopolitical leaders remaining int eh whirlwind of the crisis, there are many women playing pivotal roles.

The need to establish a Ukrainian-American Joint Coordination Committee arose in 2014, when the US was the first to provide practical assistance & training to the Armed Forces of Ukraine in repelling Russian armed aggression. It was then that a battalion of the California National Guard was sent to Ukraine to train combat units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the International Peacekeeping & Security Centre (near Lviv) to implement NATO Standards in the Ukrainian Army.

Captain Yulia Schukina, Spokeswomen of Armed Forces of Ukraine (Note the NATO Flag)

In October 2014, the first meeting of the Committee was held & the following year both Canada & the United Kingdom joined the committee, followed by Lithuania & Poland. Accordingly, the Committee was reorganized into the Multinational Joint Committee on Military Cooperation & Defense Reform (MJC.) With the addition of the Kingdoms of Sweden & Denmark to the Committee, the number of participating countries increased the MJC to eight.

The Female Fighters of Ukraine's Forgotten War:

Ukrainian Member of Parliament & leader of the political party Voice, Kira Rudik also took to social media, sharing an image of herself holding arms. “I learn to use Kalashnikov and prepare to bear arms. It sounds surreal as just a few days ago it would never come to my mind. Our women will protect our soil the same way as our men. Go Ukraine!” Rudik tweeted.

48-year-old Olga Semidianowa & her husband ran a family orphanage near Marganiec. She served in the Armed Forces of Ukraine as a seamstress, & then, after training, as a nurse. She has participated in the fighting in the Donetsk Oblast since the outbreak of the war in 2014. She has received many awards for her courage & poise on the battlefield. She was awarded the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine highest award, the "Glory and Honor" badge. Semidianowa died in a firefight on March 3 this year.

There was some propaganda when a Miss Ukraine, Anastasiia Leena put a picture of herself in a military-faux outfit with an airsoft gun to support those fighting. When called out she admitted her embellished post that did receive a lot of attention for obvious reasons.

Anna Krivonos, the reigning Junior World Champion in Biathlon that combines rifle marksmanship & cross-country skiing has stopped her athletic career to join the Army to defend her country.

Another Parliament Member: MP Roman Kostenko & Russian POW

Tweet from Inna Sovsun another Member of Ukrainian Parliament, she tweeted of a refugee who did more than required:

A woman from Mariupol came to Hungary with 4 kids.

Her own.

Her sister’s kid (mother went to find water & disappeared).

Child of her killed neighbors.

She was running for an evacuation bus & saw a kid, sitting on the street next to his dead parents. She took him too.

God Bless all the women of Ukraine & all Ukrainians!