KYIV, Ukraine: Natalia Sentsova, a mother, wife and grandmother from Ukraine, lived a relatively ordinary life before the sudden escalation of the Russia-Ukraine war on Feb. 22, 2022.
She was just an employee of the Ukraine administration with a keen interest in guns. But everything changed when Russian bombing targeted her neighborhood in the capital, Kyiv. Like many other Ukrainians, she faced a difficult choice: To leave the country or stay and defend her home and children.
Initially, Senstova left for another city but felt that she had to return and protect her loved ones. She learned about the existence of a center for training civilians on weapons and combat since the tumultuous events of 2014 at Maidan Square in Kyiv.
However, since spring of last year, she has been closely linked to the Military Training Center, where she completed her training and helped train others who wished to obtain the same skills.
Sentova’s decision to become a part of the military training center surprised and astonished her relatives and friends. Soon, she started training her children on the basics of using weapons and first aid.
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Many of her friends followed her lead, and they, in turn, completed the military exercise. Natalia’s dedication to protecting her country has made her a role model for many women who aspire to defend their homes and children.
These days, she spends most of her days at the military training center and has developed a passion for using guns. Before the war, she was interested in guns, but since the war, the gun has become as basic as a toothbrush. She has no qualms about killing if necessary to protect her family and Ukraine. She says she will not go to the front lines, but will not hesitate to kill enemy soldiers if the need arises.
Sentsova’s story exemplifies the bravery and strength of Ukrainian women who have had to defend their homes and families. Natalia has not let the war change her feminine nature and approach. Despite the ongoing conflict and uncertainty about the future, Senstova says she remains committed to defending her country and preserving its independence.