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Female Ukrainian Fighter Claimed Dead by Russia is Alive - Vows to Fight Another Day

By Belal Awad · August 3, 2023

In brief…

  • Andriana Arekhta, the female face of the Ukrainian armed forces, debunked Russian media reports of her death.
  • Arekhta survived a landmine explosion even though Russian media maintained she was dead.
  • Andriana is an accomplished soldier with strong combat and marksmanship skills.
  • Despite the emotional toll on her family - and her young son - she is preparing to return to the frontline.
Ukrainian soldier Andriana Arekhta plans to return to the fontline as soon as she recovers from a landmine explosion.  Facebook/Andriana.Susak

Andriana Arekhta, possibly the most famous female soldier in the Ukrainian armed forces, has debunked Russian media reports of her death, vowing to return to uniform soon to defend her homeland. Reported killed in a landmine explosion last December by Russia’s state-sponsored news media, Arekhta is in fact alive and recovering in an undisclosed hospital in Ukraine.

Found unconscious after being struck by a landmine, Arekhta survived the blast even though Moscow, in an act of what she called propaganda, claimed she was dead. “They published that I am without legs and without hands… like I was killed by them,” she told BBC. “They are professionals in propaganda. I’m alive and I will protect my country.”

She joined Ukraine’s military as a volunteer, quickly demonstrating strong combat and marksmanship skills.

Since then, she has been posting updates of her combat experiences on social media, while also traveled to the US to drum up support for the Ukrainian war effort.

On the harsh kill-or-be-killed realities of war, Arekhta said, “Sometimes it’s a person - because they are people. But if they will not be a target for me, I will be a target for them.” It’s a sentiment shared by many of her fellow soldiers in the hospital where she is now convalescing.

For Arekhta, the emotional toll on her family is the most difficult part of her war experience. She told BBC that she hasn’t held her son for seven months. Their conversations, she said, are overshadowed by the strain of her prolonged absence. “Two days ago, I was talking with him, and he said to me that ‘Mom, remember when we were a family and when we loved each other?’ So, after two years of absence of me and his dad, he tried to remember a period when we were a family,” Arekhta said tearfully.

As long as the war grinds on, Arekhta’s personal life will sadly remain on hold. Her focus right now is to recover from her injuries and return to the harsh business of defending her country.