Nastia’s face. The girl wears a pixelated military uniform with the insignia of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Her voice trembles as she talks about her lover.

“This morning I was at his grave. I was at the grave of the man I still love.”

Anastasiya Blyshik and Oleksandr Makhov met while working together as journalists at a Ukrainian TV channel. He has been a war reporter for the past five years. On February 24, 2022, the first day of the Russian invasion, Oleksandr packed his things and left, reporting to the military.

A few days later he was already fighting in a unit of the armed forces in eastern Ukraine. In May he was mortally wounded near Izium. He was buried in a closed coffin, over which a grieving girl was bending on the day of his funeral.

After the loss of her lover, Nastia left her peaceful profession and enlisted in the army. This is her personal battlefront now, in memory of Oleksandr, who will forever remain 36 years old. She wants to go back to her fiancé’s homeland, to Luhansk, which has been occupied by the Russians since 2014.

War has the face of Dana.

“Happy birthday to you, my little gentle first born, my brave warrior of steel. I’m going next to you to this long-awaited meeting. Your young, inexperienced, brave mother of steel,” wrote 49-year-old Dana Labinska on her Facebook page.

I met her in May last year. Dana’s son is among the thousands of Mariupol defenders who held out in the besieged city for several months and were then captured. Dana hasn’t heard anything about her son’s whereabouts or what happened to him in nine months.

Every time Russia and Ukraine exchange prisoners, a glimmer of hope appears for them. During the first exchanges, I wrote to Dana expecting good news. But months passed and I stopped writing so as not to disappoint her even more with my questions. If Russia releases her son, I will surely hear about it.

War has Iryna’s face.

“Every day I wake up in the morning and try to live. I look at the sun, drink coffee, live for the day. And in the evenings I go to bed and I feel like I’m dying again,” says Iryna Dmitrieva. Their four-year-old daughter Liza was killed by a Russian cruise missile in Vinnytsia in July last year.

After a year of this nasty war trying to destroy my country, I know for sure that one of his faces looks like a woman’s face.

It resembles the faces of women waiting for their children and loved ones at the front or in captivity. The faces of women who have lost their loved ones. The faces of women who, despite the pain of loss, learn to live anew day after day.

Courage means pulling yourself out of the abyss of endless pain and getting through the next day.

I believe that my country will also be able to overcome this pain and one day breathe freely.

On this day the female face of war becomes the female face of victory.

“Kick-off Politics” is WELT’s daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, among others, or directly via RSS feed.