Kristina had been living with her family in Italy for over a decade, working at the supermarket and singing at weddings in her spare time. But as military tensions rose a year ago along Ukraine’s eastern border, the 29-year-old Ukrainian woman returned to her country of birth to become a soldier.
She was fully aware of the danger she was getting herself into—since 2014, Ukraine has been the target of Russian-backed aggression in its eastern region of Donbas.
“The risk of saying goodbye to life is always there. We are not afraid of death; we are afraid to be slaves,” Kristina, who withheld her last name and location due to safety concerns, told VICE World News. “I will be on my land to the last.”
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