A volunteer unit in Ukraine produces clothes for female soldiers | Popgen Tech

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A volunteer organization in Ukraine produces much-needed clothing for female soldiers fighting in the country against Russia.

A group called Zemlyachki now serves many of the 57,000 women serving in the Ukrainian military. It provides items such as uniforms, boots, underwear and personal care products.

The co-founder of the non-profit group is Ksenia Draganyuk. She is related to 25-year-old military woman Anastasia Mokhina. Mohina volunteered with her husband to fight against Russia to help defend Ukraine. However, after participating in military operations, Mohina learned that the Ukrainian military was not well prepared to provide clothing and equipment for female soldiers.

This led to the fact that Draganyuk began to collect the necessary materials to send to Mohino. Draganyuk later decided to create a domestic operation to provide for other female soldiers.

“Our army was not ready for the fact that there will be so many women in it,” Draganyuk said.

Today, no less than 6,000 Ukrainian women were involved in the front line or near them in the war against Russia. Some serve in positions such as medics or intelligence officers. Others engage in more traditional warfare.

They joined the struggle in a country where almost all men aged 18 to 60 are prohibited from leaving Ukraine. martial law was adopted after the invasion of Russia.

When Draganyuk’s group started, het outsourcing production of uniforms for women. But he has since developed and manufactured them at his own factory in the northeastern city of Kharkiv.

Ukrainian serviceman Anastasia Mohina, third from left, and co-founders Ksenia Draganiuk, third from right, and husband Andrey Kalesnik, center, of the non-profit group

Ukrainian serviceman Anastasia Mohina, third from left, and co-founders Ksenia Draganiuk, third from right, and husband Andrey Kalesnik, center, of the nonprofit group Zemlyachki in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Vasilisa Stepanenko )

The organization has helped provide more than $1 million in military support. About a fifth of the money is direct donations. The rest is provided as goods or services. Corporate donors include medical supply companies, beauty centers and gaming industry companies, Draganiuk said.

Mohina also worked as a signalman in the troops of the territorial defense of Kyiv.

“We just wanted to fight back,” Mohina said. “That’s why my father and I said: “Let’s go” – and went straight to the nearby military post.”

After the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian military dressed many women in men’s uniforms or small boots. In recent months, Zemliachky has created designs that fit women’s bodies, sizes and needs.

Many orders arrive and are shipped by truck, train and other transportation services every day. The group created a space in northeast Kyiv where women on vacation can come to pick up what they need. All materials are provided free of charge.

“Ksyusha gave us everything we wear. …She is our savior,” said Maria Stalinskaya. She joined the army in August and fought on the front line. Ksyusha is another name for Draganyuk. “There are even cases when medicine or hospital is needed. We’re going to see Ksyusha right away,” Stalinskaya added.

Draganiuk said that she was once called and told that she had to reduce the order from 10 pairs of uniforms and shoes to five – after the Russian attack claimed the lives of five women.

“They really give their lives for the freedom of our country,” Draganyuk said.

I’m Brian Lynn.

This was reported by the Associated Press. Brian Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English.

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The words in this story

martial law – n. control of the country by its military instead of elected leaders

outsourcing – c. to pay for goods or services from a third-party or foreign supplier

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