Fmr. Miss Grand Ukraine picks up rifle to defend homeland, her message for Russians

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Amid growing concern about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state of mind, outmatched Ukrainian forces continues to put forth an inspirational defense of their homeland against Russian aggressors, with everyday citizens joining the fight. In one case an 80-year-old man was seen stepping forward, and in another show of courage that’s garnering even more attention, a former beauty queen has reportedly joined the military.

Anastasia Lenna, the former Miss Grand Ukraine who represented her country in the 2015 Miss Grand International beauty contest, shared a photo of herself holding an airsoft rifle on Instagram amid reports that she has answered the call to defend her home.

While airsoft rifles are used for sport, the New York post reported that Lenna “appears to have swapped plastic pellets for lead bullets.”


Lenna has been sharing a series of posts supporting the Ukrainian military and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who she called “a true and strong leader.”

One such post shared on her page Saturday declared in English, “Everyone who crosses the Ukrainian border with the intent to invade will be killed!”

That post was accompanied by a photo of armed soldiers lying in roadway with guns at the ready. Another post stated, “Our army is fighting in such a way that NATO should apply for entry into Ukraine.”

According to her Miss Grand International profile, Lenna has worked as a model and a public relations manager in Turkey. She speaks five languages and has also worked as a translator.

Zelenskyy declared martial law across the country following last week’s unprovoked invasion by Putin’s forces, prohibiting men ages 18 to 60 from leaving the country.

“In particular, it is forbidden for men aged 18-60, Ukraine citizens, to leave the borders of Ukraine,” a statement from the Ukraine State Border Guard Service said, according to CNN. “This regulation will remain in effect for the period of the legal regime of martial law. We ask the citizens to take this information into consideration.”

With the Russian military pressing in on Kyiv, Zelenskyy is believed to still be in the capital city bravely leading the defense of his country. He turned down an offer from the United States to evacuate, responding: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”

The mayor of Kyiv is fighting to save the city, and other politicians have picked up arms. Zelenskyy announced in a tweet that anyone who wants to defend the country will be given a weapon and called on others around the world to come help them fight for survival.

“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities,” Zelenskyy tweeted.

There have been reports of Ukrainians standing in long lines for military conscription and civilians lining up to donate blood to wounded soldiers. The New York Times shared a video of Ukraine citizens making Molotov cocktails in the streets ahead of a Russian attack.

Putin is reportedly “furious” over the fearless Ukrainian resistance, expecting to have rolled over the country’s defenses in a matter of 4-5 days. On Sunday, while President Biden retreated to his home in Delaware for the weekend, Putin placed his nuclear forces on an increased state of readiness known as “special regime of combat duty,” which drew condemnation from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for the “escalation.”

While it’s not certain what Putin may do next, and delegations from Ukraine and Russia meeting in Belarus on Monday to engage in talks, the courage of the Ukrainian people, including Lenna, has been an inspiration to the world:

Tom Tillison


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