According to the National Pulse's Jack Montgomery, misogyny runs rife among the ranks of the Ukrainian military. He recounted the disclosures of platoon sergeant Nadiya Haran, one of roughly 60,000 women serving in the AFU.
Speaking to the Guardian, Haran said female AFU soldiers "have to fight two enemies at once" – the Russians and their own sexist comrades. The 27-year-old joined the military in 2017 as a radio technician. She remarked: "The only place that I can say I did not see that stigma was the actual ground zero because everyone was so freaking busy fighting for their country."
The platoon sergeant recounted the story of one woman who "was put in a psychiatric facility without consent by her commander, just because she applied for transfer to a combat unit." Another woman received a similar threat of punishment "just for reporting that she was being sexually harassed." The second woman, a medic, was a former subordinate of Haran.
She also cited the case of one commander who threatened to send the husbands of female soldiers "to their deaths" if they refuse to sleep with him. This same commander "high up the food chain … would harass women," including Haran's subordinates. Because of this high-ranking officer's actions, Haran had to leave her own brigade.
"[He] basically told them if they refuse to have sex with him, he’s sending their husbands who were also in the brigade to their deaths," she commented. "I was told to shut up because he did not harass me personally."
The Guardian invited the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense to speak to Haran and investigate her claims. However, the ministry did not immediately respond.
"When it comes to uniforms, women must make do with wearing those designed for men, but their own or seek a donation," the Guardian noted. Haran herself had experienced this, disclosing a knee injury caused by being unable to properly move around in her fatigues. (Related: Female soldiers in Ukrainian army burdened by health issues, ill-fitting equipment.)
Aside from uniforms, "body armor provided by the [AFU] is not designed for the female shape." The ill-fitting armor "either constricts the chest or bulges out at the stomach, exposing the vital organs to damage."
Proper footwear is also an issue, as attested by 44-year-old Olena Bilozerska. The celebrated sniper with multiple kills to her name lamented: "It's a very big problem to find military boots with a smaller size for women."
One woman with the AFU shared these equipment problems with the Daily Beast's Anna Nemtsova. Twenty-eight-year-old Alina recounted that female military members often "stumble in men’s shoes that are too big." Sometimes, they are often forced to run in "huge pants" that slow them down in critical situations.
"But the hardest is to run in the standard, 30-pound bulletproof vest, which just never fits snugly to the body with boobs like mine," Alina said.
"If I take the army armor off and get wounded or get killed, there would be no compensation paid to me or my family. Our lives, our security often depend on what we wear on our body and our feet, how healthy we are."
Shoddy equipment is an issue for female members of the AFU, and so is a lack of personal hygiene supplies. The shortage of diapers and urination devices while on the battlefield has given rise to a "bouquet of health issues" such as cystitis, inflammation of the ovaries and back pain.
Visit UkraineWitness.com for more stories about the AFU's female soldiers and the hardships they face.
Watch this footage of crippled Ukrainian soldiers in Zaporizhzhia being evacuated to safety.
This video is from the Cynthia's Pursuit of Truth channel on Brighteon.com.