Woman Veteran Helps Others To Adapt

December 14, 2020

Yulia Kirillova is a Donbas War veteran, and co-founder of the Ukrainian Women’s Veteran Movement.When Russia ignited its war in Donbas in 2014, Kirillova began providing humanitarian assistance as a volunteer. In August, the war took her husband’s life. But with so many people injured or gone missing, Kirillova could not stand on the sidelines.

At the age of 21, she joined the 25th Separate Motorised Infantry Battalion. As a lawyer, she served as a military clerk, a grenadier, a medic and even an ambulance driver. When Kirillova returned home in 2016, she joined the Women’s Veteran Movement.

Together, they have been helping women veterans to transition to civilian life but also marking the memory of 16 fallen female soldiers by planting alleys of apple trees around Ukraine.

Over the past 6 years, around 31 thousand women have served in the Ukrainian army. While social stigma and stereotypes remain strong, Kirilova and her colleagues are trying to end patronizing attitudes and ensure respect and honor for their sisters-in-arms.

Author: Iryna Matviyishyn

The material was prepared with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the project Stories from Ukraine. The material reflects the position of the authors and does not necessarily coincide with the position of the International Renaissance Foundation.

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