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“I knew that if there was a full-on invasion I wouldn’t go abroad. I would fight”

“I knew that if there was a full-on invasion I wouldn’t go abroad. I would fight”

Olesia Vorotnyk, a ballerina with the National Opera of Ukraine, left the company to defend her country, Economist reports.

Now 30, Ms. Vorotnyk has been dancing professionally since 2009. She was a child gymnast before starting ballet lessons at ten. She studied at the Kyiv Choreographic College and then joined the dance troupe of the National Opera. “A career that’s tough on the feet,” she says simply.

Military service is as much a part of her life story as dance. Her husband, with whom she had a son, was killed three years ago in Donbas. When the full-scale war began in February 2022, she knew she had to do something but wasn’t sure what. “I could shoot, though,” she says. “It’s my hobby. I knew that if there was a full-on invasion, I wouldn’t go abroad. I would fight.”

Soon she resolved to join the Territorial Defence Forces, helped to evacuate people, and guarded territories. In early June 2022, Ms. Vorotnyk decided it was time to dance again. The heavy fighting had long moved far from Kyiv.

Ms. Vorotnyk knows she can be called back to serve at any time. She still practices shooting almost every day. She still volunteers in her neighborhood. Amid missile strikes on the city, she knows the violence is far from over.

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