As tension continues to build up, a group of old women is ready to defend Ukraine against a possible Russian invasion.
The Babushka Battalion are a group of older women who have volunteered to take up arms against Russia in the event of an attempted invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Babushka or baboushka or babooshka from Russian means a Grandmother or Elderly Woman.
Initiated by a far-right movement, Azov, basic lessons will be given to residents covering weapon shooting, survival, first aid, etc.
79-year-old Valentyna Konstantinovska is one of the women who are ready to face Russian soldiers mano to mano to protect their city from a likely Putin-led invasion. Konstantinovska and an army of “babushkas”, older women, have volunteered to dig trenches, provide supplies, make nets, offer medical care, and even build a lookout tower.
“I love my city, I am not leaving. Putin can’t scare us off. Yes, it’s terrifying, but we will stand for our Ukraine until the very end,” Konstantinoska.
The US warns that Russian troops wage a bloody invasion of Ukraine in days as both countries enter a critical week. The conflict between both countries broke out in 2014.
“I’ve been dreaming since 2014 to learn to use a gun, but was told ‘babushka, you are too old for that. You will be knocked off your feet with the recoil’,” said Konstantinovska, lying on a yoga mat in a silky lemon-coloured coat to practice aiming a model AK-47 assault rifle.
65-year-old Liudmyla Smahlenko who lost a relative while fighting separatists in Eastern Ukraine in 2015 is also ready to combat Russian troops.
“We are already a babushka battalion. In 2014, we dug trenches, set up field bases and since we donate our pillows and blankets, plates, mugs – we bring them everything we can,” said Smahlenko, dressed head-to-toe in dusky pink.
“I am ready to fight if Russia does invade, even if I have to get into a fistfight with them. They are not our brothers,” she said.