Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine
Andrii Kolesnyk and Kseniia Drahanyuk both beam with excitement as they crouch over a box.
They are about to unpack Ukraine’s first ever military uniform for pregnant women, which they recently commissioned after a pregnant sniper got in touch.
The young couple, both TV journalists before the war started, are now fully dedicated to their independent NGO, “Zemlyachki,” or “Compatriots,” which procures vital items for women in the armed forces.
The initiative started when Andrii’s sister was sent to the front on Feb. 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine.
“She received men’s uniform, men’s underwear,” he says. “Everything that [was] designed for men.”
It soon became clear that servicewomen needed a lot more than uniforms. Everything from smaller boots to lighter plates for bulletproof vests to hygiene products is in demand.
So, the couple turned to private company donations, charity funds and crowdfunding to purchase goods independently of the military. Some customized gear such as women’s fatigues is produced under their own brand by a factory in Kharkiv in the country’s east — including the new pregnancy uniform.
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