Ukraine can pay tribute to Russian girl who fought on its facet

Friends and comrades-in-palms have bid farewell to a Russian girl who became killed even as preventing on Ukraine’s facet withinside the conflict together along with her local us of a

KYIV, Ukraine — An honor defend fired a three-gun salute closer to cloudy skies as pals and comrades-in-palms accumulated in Kyiv to bid farewell to a Russian girl who became killed even as preventing on Ukraine’s facet withinside the conflict together along with her local us of a.

Olga Simonova, 34, became remembered for her braveness and kindness at a funeral withinside the Ukrainian capital on Friday.

Simonova’s coffin became draped withinside the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag, with a cuddly toy lion on top. Her nom de guerre became “Simba,” just like the important individual withinside the Disney cartoon “The Lion King.”

Just some days earlier than Russia released its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, Simonova spoke to the The Associated Press in a trench withinside the Donbas vicinity, in which she had served for years along Ukrainian squaddies preventing towards Russian-subsidized separatists.

Born withinside the Russian metropolis of Chelyabinsk, Simonova had a eager hobby in sports activities and excelled in each mountaineering and karate. She stated she became usually proud to compete for Russia.

But she began out feeling uncomfortable approximately her local us of a after analyzing approximately Russia’s conflict in Chechnya and its moves in Ukraine’s japanese Donbas vicinity and Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Filled with doubts that she “could ever be capable of enhance the flag of my us of a, my homeland” again, Simonova made a life-converting decision. She travelled to Ukraine to sign up for the strugglefare withinside the Donbas at the Ukrainian facet, first as a volunteer fighter, then a paramedic and in the end as an enlisted member of the Armed Forces.

“I had this inner feeling that I should cope with it and that what I became doing became proper and necessary, due to the fact I can’t flip a blind eye to the situation,” she stated. “I simply had to shop for a one-manner ticket. I sold it and I left.”

Simonova stated she by no means concealed her Russian starting place from her colleagues and received their consider with the aid of using displaying her dedication to Ukraine at the battlefield. In 2017 she acquired Ukrainian citizenship.

She have become a sergeant and became given command of each infantry and artillery units.

Friends and co-workers stated Simonova, who became single and had no children, had lately redeployed from the east to the southern Kherson vicinity, in which Ukraine has released a counteroffensive towards Russian forces. They stated she died on Sept. 13, after her automobile hit a land mine.

“She became reputable now no longer simplest as a commander, however as a person,” stated Dmytro Karabinovskyi, her former commander and friend.