“We expected hell on earth”

08.10.2022 | cb — No comments

The openly lesbian soldier Irina Petrova serves with her unit in the Odesa region. Our colleague and activist Iryna Hanenkova asked her to give us some impressions of her life in the army. She decided to write about the very beginning of the war.

When we woke up on February 24, the war had begun. We thought it was a joke at first, but unfortunately it was serious.

I am a soldier, living and working in the army. That day, everything happened very fast: our leaders moved out, only my company and the commander stayed. At that moment I realised what horror awaited us: hell on earth.

We took all our weapons and went into the forest, because the enemy’s positions were only 20 to 30 kilometres away from where we were.

We stayed there for about two weeks. It was very hard: there was almost no food, we had to wait a long time for some. We only survived thanks to the support of volunteers and our State.

Sexual orientation does not matter here

I still remember how the Russians entered our storage. We quickly gathered and moved to a quieter place. We wore bullet-proof wests, but were unarmed because we had to leave our position abruptly. On the way to the place we had an accident, when we ran out of the bus into the field during an air alert, mines were everywhere. It was tough.

We have been fighting ever since. A few weeks ago we returned from the embattled Mykolayiv. And it doesn’t matter what sexual orientation or gender identity you have. After all, we are defending our homeland together. I would like to emphasise that: We are all in the same situation here and therefore willing to help each other no matter what. Until the end!

Here is how you can help:

Individual help

Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via to support people in Ukraine with whom we have worked closely over the past ten years. They are our friends and partners. We know them personally and we miss them. We can help fast, directly and unbureaucratically.

Help for LGBTIQ* organisations

To support LGBTIQ* in Ukraine we have helped set up the Alliance Queer Emergency Aid Ukraine, in which around 40 German LGBTIQ* Human Rights organisations are involved. All these groups have access to very different Human Rights organisations in Ukraine and use funds for urgently needed care or evacuation of queer people. Every donation helps and is used 100 percent to benefit queer people in Ukraine. Donate here


Comments are closed.