Ukraine commander forces women soldiers: sex or husband to fight Russians

Ukrainian army has been accused of widespread corruption and sexual harassment of women soldiers

NEW DELHI | Updated: 12 August, 2023 1:46 pm IST
Ukraine army has now been accused of hushing up female soldiers who reported sexual exploitation. (representative image)

NEW DELHI: After revelations of rampant corruption, the Ukraine army has now been accused of hushing up female soldiers who reported sexual exploitation by their male superiors.

According to a report, a senior military commander has been accused of forcing women subordinates to have sex with him. He threatened those who resisted sending their husbands, who work in the same unit, to their fight the Russians on the frontline.

A platoon sergeant, Nadiya Haran (27) told the Guardian that she had no option but to take transfer to another unit after senior officers did not pay heed to her complaint and instead asked her to “shut up”.

“I left (my brigade) because there was this person high up the food chain who would harass women and I know these women,” she said last week, adding, “Some of them are my subordinates who I’m responsible for.”

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“They were harassed by the same person who 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. I was told to shut up because he did not harass me personally,” she added.

Many women have also allegedly been threatened with being sent to psychiatric units for raising allegations of sexual harassment or seeking to transfer to a combat unit.

The Ukrainian armed forces employ approximately 60,000 women, with over 5,000 serving on the frontline. Maliar recognized the need to create uniforms that are both functional and comfortable, accommodating the unique demands of combat conditions.

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After condemnation, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar has pledged to pursue credible cases of misconduct through the legal system.

She has urged anyone who has experienced or witnessed such misconduct to come forward and provide their testimony and assured that she would personally take any credible cases to the police.

Charges of widespread corruption within the military ranks have invited scrutiny and angst of the US and Kyiv European allies, who have been arming and funding the Ukrainian military.

On Friday, Ukraine fired all chiefs of its regional military recruitment centres to combat corruption.

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