Women on the frontline | DW Documentary


Since 2014, hundreds of women have joined the Ukrainian army to fight against the pro-Russian militias in the Donbass region. This documentary tells the story of three women who fought the separatists before Russian President Vladimir Putin commanded the attack by Russian forces on Ukraine in February 2022.

[This documentary was originally released in 2020]

Combat roles are rarely entrusted to women. Female soldiers are often relegated to administrative posts and portrayed by the media as oddities, or soldiers who are more concerned with manicures than fighting.

Filmmaker Masha Kondakova went to war with three of these women. Lera, a patriot and rebel, quits her job as a journalist and joins the army. When she’s packed off to a training camp, she promptly deserts and goes straight back to the front. The young doctor Ira returns from the war injured. She fights quite different battles in Kyiv, where she struggles to find her place in society as a disabled war veteran. Elena volunteered in 2014. She lives far away from her children and tries to balance her private and professional life.

Kondakova’s film profiles three intrepid women ready to share their intimate tales of love, war and loss.

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