She is armed and she is ready to fight ...
Those words are not a description of the many women profiled on this site, or an Armed Citizen® entry (although it could be), but rather the words told to FOX News Channel by Kira Rudick, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament. She is also a member of the Ukrainian resistance.
“When you say, ‘she is armed and she is ready to fight,’ we are not only saying this, we are proving this by our actions.” said Rudick. “And no matter what happens, we would do anything but allow Russia to move forward.”
Fox News Channel
American history books are replete with examples of courageous women who have risked and sacrificed their lives in defense of country. Freedom is the building block of American DNA. So it is with great pride that we NRA Women are witnessing that same patriotic spirit rise in many thousands of Ukrainian women who remain in country—wives, mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers—as they take up arms alongside the men choosing to fight in Kyiv, Lviv and throughout Ukraine, willingly accepting the challenge in the uncertain days ahead as they attempt to maintain the sovereignty of their land.
It's important to know that while no country has the equivalent rights guaranteed to Americans under the Second Amendment, Ukraine has less-restrictive gun laws than other European countries, and is in fact the only European country where firearms aren’t regulated by statute. Handguns are illegal (except for target shooting, those who hold concealed-carry permits, and handguns awarded for service), but rifles and shotguns are allowed for hunting, target shooting, collection, protection of person or property and private security. Since the invasion, rifles, mostly AK-74s and decades-old AK-47s, are being distributed to any Ukrainian man or woman who has chosen to stand and defend.
Make no mistake, along with the Ukrainian military firepower, it is an armed populace with the will to defend that has contributed to the prevention of a full occupation of any Ukrainian city four days into the invasion. It has made a difference.
The 24/7 news cycle and cell phone video have allowed us to observe the possible beginnings of World War III, as we witness heartbreaking images of families living in subways or huddled in bomb shelters (some serving as makeshift maternity wards), young children bidding tearful goodbyes to daddies as they flee their homeland for a future as a refugee—but also images that uplift us, images that provide hope that the bravery we thought had been lost in our world of late indeed does still exist. And it is the heroic civilian women as often as the men who have become patriots, exercising sheer determination.
Take, for example, this elderly woman who confronts a Russian soldier as they conduct exercises. After she curses him and the others for being there, she concludes by extending her hand. “Take these seeds and put them in your pockets,” she says, “so at least sunflowers will grow when you lie here.” The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine. (Economic Times image)
Fox News Channel
By now you have likely seen one of the most famous faces of the resistance, Valentyna Kostyantynovska, 79, who was photographed holding an AK-47 rifle during training. The Reuters story from which the image originated features elderly men and women past retirement age getting ready to fight in the Ukraine conflict. The unlikely soldier told Reuters she has wanted to learn how to shoot since the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
This story first published in 2017 tells about the changing gender roles for women in the Ukraine army, who are now permitted into combat roles.
Another story describes how Ukranian women studied crisis preparation and self-defense skills in the lead-up to the invasion. The term "go-bag" has never been more real.
Even a former Miss Grand Ukraine has joined the fight against Russia.
By the time this is posted, there will have been hundreds, perhaps thousands, of additional individual acts of bravery and courage, of valiant resistance and resilience reminiscence of America’s fight for independence by both men and women alike, all of which deserve to be memorialized.
“Ukraine is resisting very hard,” Kira Rudick continued in the FOX News interview. “4,300 Russian soldiers killed on Ukrainian soil … I think it’s pretty bad results for a dictator, right?
Asked if she thought the world was surprised at the will of her fellow countrymen and women, she said, “I’m not sure the world is surprised, but I’m sure Putin is surprised.”
She continued, “We know we not only fight for Ukraine but for new world order, for a democratic country. We are the shield for Europe. We are protecting not only Ukraine but all other countries who would be next if we fail. That’s why we just cannot fail. … I have seen other people standing up and bearing arms to protect their family and their countries. There is no force in the world that will destroy us.”
As this is written the situation is extremely fluid, with a humanitarian situation predictably growing due to a lack of food and supplies for those who have remained. There are suggestions of peace talks. Regardless of how this plays out in the coming days, weeks or months, we know the Ukrainian men and women are exhibiting the same fortitude of our own country's founders. When offered the opportunity to evacuate from Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy uttered as profound a phrase as any world leader ever has: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride."
The fight runs deep in the Ukrainian people, from the bottom to the top, and it should remind us that our American freedoms—especially our Right to Bear Arms—must never be taken for granted, and are worth fighting for against those that would destroy them.