Ukrainian reservist Mariana Jaglo, 52, takes her rifle out of a khaki case in the dining room of her house in Kiev and assures that she will not hesitate to defend her country in the event of a Russian invasion.
“We will not wait for them sitting down. We are ready to give them the welcome they deserve”, warns this marketing employee coldly , who joined a reservist corps two years ago.
“I am not alone. There are many like me in Ukraine. No man will do what a woman can do to defend her family, her children. It’s a fearsome force,” says the mother of two adult daughters and a 12-year-old boy.
In 2021, he paid “2,000 or 3,000 dollars” – a sum considered a fortune in one of the poorest countries in Europe – for a Ukrainian Zroyar Z-15 model hunting rifle and the necessary material to adapt it to combat.
“With a mechanical and telescopic sight, mounts and sound reducer”, the woman proudly lists, who she also followed elite marksmanship training.
Her gun, according to law, cannot fire in bursts.
Ukraine, a former Soviet republic of 40 million of inhabitants, is the theater of a conflict between the authorities and the separatists of the east, backed by Russia. The war began in 2014 with the annexation of the Crimean peninsula byRussia, and has left more than 13,000 dead.
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In recent months, tension has increased and Western countries accuse Putin of having concentrated some 100,000 soldiers near the border with Ukraine, preparing an invasion , and threaten Moscow with harsh sanctions should it take action, while delivering weapons to Kiev.
Some media mention the risk of Russian air strikes against the Ukrainian capital and more than 48% of Ukrainians consider a Russian invasion possible, according to a survey published this week.
Panic is not visible in the country, but many prepare emergency bags and stock up on essential products or sign up for training survival or first aid.
Jaglo prepared his military backpack with his uniform, helmet, bulletproof vest, gloves and knee ras.
Alongside other reservists, this short-haired brunette trains regularly to shoot, patrol or set up ambushes.
Washington maintains that Russia is preparing a total invasion of Ukraine
“If there had been no war, I would never have thought about these military issues,” explains the Ukrainian.
The journalist Oleksandre Majov, also a reservist, had to leave eastern Ukraine after the outbreak of the conflict with the separatists. Today, his military backpack is also ready.
“The evacuation, I’m not going to live it again. It’s a bag to go to fight,” says this 35-year-old war correspondent. “I have a plan and I am ready,” he adds.
Jaglo does not have a concrete plan for his family or where to send his children if the situation deteriorates. “Of course I’m worried,” he confesses, hoping the war can be avoided.
“Many countries give us weapons, they send us specialists who instruct our military in the use of weapons, that also has an effect”, estimates Jaglo.
For her, the current crisis is due to the “imperialist” ambitions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I have no problem with the Russians as a people, just as I have no problem with the the French, the Germans or the Chinese,” says the reservist. But if the worst comes to the worst, he will not falter. “I don’t want to kill people, but to defend my home,” she sums it up.