US unveils NATO plan to buy body armor for Ukrainian military women


NATO has agreed to establish a $7 million fund to purchase body armor and other equipment for women serving in the Ukrainian military, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Tuesday.

“Right now, there are thousands of Ukrainian women who are serving on the front lines, literally — as snipers, as machine gunners, as medevac pilots, commanding tank units and artillery batteries,” Blinken said at the State Department. “But too often, Ukrainian women fighters don’t have the equipment that they need to meet their unique needs, forcing many to buy and even design their own kits.”


Poland’s President Andrzej Duda meets Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, right, at Belvedere Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday, July 8, 2024. Zelensky heads to the NATO summit after the meeting, where it was announced military women would get a much-needed boost. (AP)

The new fund will procure “more than 10,000 bulletproof vests, uniforms, [and] boots,” he said. An estimated 65,000 Ukrainian women serve in the military, reportedly including 4,000 to 5,000 in combat roles.


They serve on a volunteer basis because Ukrainian martial law does not require women to join, even as Ukrainian men face conscription under a mobilization law adopted this spring to address a manpower shortage.

“From the moment that Putin launched his full-scale invasion, Ukrainian women have stepped up, in every conceivable way, to defend their country, to defend their communities, to defend their families — including in combat,” Blinken said. “Every day, they prove that valor has no gender.”

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