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‘Taunting’: Ukrainian female soldiers face strong opposition after parade wearing high heels. Ukraine News

The image of the Ministry of National Defense showing female soldiers wearing high heels practicing in a military parade has aroused a lot of criticism.​​

After official pictures showed female soldiers wearing high heels practicing for next month’s military parade, the Ukrainian authorities came under fire.

Ukraine is preparing to hold a military parade to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Ministry of Defense on Thursday released photos of exhausted female soldiers marching in black high heels.

The Department of Defense information website ArmiaInform quoted trainee Ivanna Medvid as saying: “Today, this is the first training in high heels.”

“It’s slightly more difficult than military boots, but we are working hard,” Medved said.

The parade will be held on August 24 [Ukrainian defence ministry press service/AFP]

The choice of shoes drew a lot of criticism from social media and parliament, and led to accusations of sexualization of female soldiers.

Commentator Vitaly Portnikov said on Facebook: “The story of the parade in high heels is really a shame,” and he believes that some Ukrainian officials have a “medieval” mentality.

“Sexism and misogyny”

Another commentator Maria Shapranova accused the Ministry of Defense of “sexism and misogyny”.

“High heels are a mockery of women in the beauty industry,” she said.

Several Ukrainian lawmakers who were close to former Ukrainian President Peter Poroshenko appeared in Parliament wearing a pair of shoes and encouraged the Minister of Defense to wear high heels to participate in the parade.

“It’s hard to imagine something stupid and more harmful than this,” Inna Sovsun, a member of the Golos Party, said when pointing out the health risks.

She also said that Ukrainian female soldiers-just like men-risked their lives and “should not be ridiculed.”

Ukraine has been fighting Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country, and the conflict has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.

The deputy speaker of the legislature, Olena Kondratyuk, stated that the authorities should publicly apologize for “humiliating” women and conduct investigations.

Kondratyuk said that there are more than 13,500 women fighting in the current conflict.

Current conflict

More than 31,000 women serve in the Ukrainian armed forces, of which more than 4,000 are officers.

The Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Defense Minister Andriy Taran (Andriy Taran) met with a group of female students, listened to their questions about shoes, and promised them a new style.

“New and improved footwear should be better, more ergonomic, and manufactured in the shortest possible time,” the minister said.

The ministry’s statement did not include an apology, but regretted that “certain political forces used the footwear issue for mediocre political activities and self-promotion”.



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