Women across Ukraine are working to fight against the invading Russian forces in different ways across the country, with images and videos shared across social media highlighting the work they are doing and how “surreal” the experience would have previously felt.
In the eastern city of Dnipro, a large group of women gathered over the weekend to make Molotov cocktails.
“Nobody thought that this is how we would spend our weekend, but now we’re doing this and it seems like the only important thing to do now,” one female participant told BBC reporters.
The city has not yet been encroached by Russian forces, but citizens are preparing for the worst.
“We can’t just lead our ordinary lives, even if we are safe, we have to do something.”
Former Ukranian Miss Universe Anastasiia Lenna has continued to use her social media platform to speak out against the crisis, sharing a string of posts on Instagram since last week’s invasion.
The 31-year old marketing and management graduate has been urging support and soliciting donations to the Ukrainian armed forces with hashtags including #standwithukraine, #handsoffukraine, #prayforukraine #stopwar #staystrong
On Saturday, she posted photos on herself wielding a gun in full military uniform, spurring rumours she has joined the Ukrainian military in its push against the Russian invasion.
In one Instgram story she wrote in English over the weekend, she declared: “Everyone who crosses the Ukrainian border with the intent to invade will be killed! Stop Russian aggression! Speak up, world!! Now!!”
The story was accompanied by a photo of armed soldiers blocking a roadway in Ukraine.
In another story, she wrote: “Our army is fighting in such a way that NATO should apply for entry into Ukraine.”
Lenna, who was Ukraine’s representative in the Miss Grand International beauty contest in 2015, also shared a photo to her 75,000 followers showing soldiers walking alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom she called “a true and strong leader.”
Ukrainian Member of Parliament and leader of the political party Voice, Kira Rudik also took to social media, sharing an image of herself holding arms.
“I learn to use Kalashnikov and prepare to bear arms. It sounds surreal as just a few days ago it would never come to my mind. Our women will protect our soil the same way as our men. Go Ukraine!” Rudik tweeted.
She spoke to Fox News a day later, describing the way her party is training resistance forces.
“We are fighting economically, by bringing in more and more international partners,” she said.
“We are fighting in cyberwar, most of the more important Russian sides are either blocked or Russian TV is being interrupted. Pro-Ukrainian videos are being broadcasted. There are many, many fights where we are fighting and we are winning.”
“I am sure that the world is surprised, but most of all, that Putin is surprised.
Elsewhere, praise continues to pour in for a civilian woman who was captured on camera in Henichesk last week, confronting two heavily armed Russian soldiers.
“What the f*** are you doing in our land?” she yelled.
A translation of the video on Twitter showed the soldier responding, trying to urge the woman not to escalate the situation.
“You should put sunflower seeds in your pockets so that they will grow on Ukrainian land after you die,” she retaliates.
“From this moment you are cursed, I am telling you.”
Over the weekend, the U.N. refugee agency reported up to 150,000 people have fled Ukraine into neighbouring countries including Poland, Romania and Moldova since last week’s invasion.
The agency expects up to 4 million citizens of Ukraine are likely to flee the country if the situation does not improve.
Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s regional director for Europe and Central Asia, told a UN briefing in Geneva: “We are looking at ranges of 1-3 million into Poland for example … A scenario of 1 to 5 million including all surrounding countries.”
“While the scale and scope of displacement will only likely become apparent in the coming days and weeks, Ukrainian authorities estimate that as many as 5 million people could flee the country, triggering a refugee crisis that will test response capacities in neighbouring countries.”