There’s something about Ukraine that produces heroes.

Before Chris Kyle, American Sniper, there was Ukraine’s very own Lyudmila Pavlichenko, arguably the most accomplished sniper of the 2oth Century, if not today, credited with killing over 309 Nazi Germans. Lyudmila silenced the gender debate around male vs. female snipers when she sent hundreds of Nazis straight to hell at the business end of her sniper rifle.

The modern-day sniper is one of the most effective tools on the 21st Century battlefield. Nowhere will you find a better return on investment when it comes to affecting enemy psychology and driving up KIA (Killed in Action) numbers than when it’s through the shooting glass of the sniper. There’s also very little collateral damage in direct comparison to Obama’s drone wars.

Fast forward from Pavlichenko’s WWII to modern warfare and battlefield 21, and there’s a group of female fighters who are picking up where Lyudmila left off. I’ll save the Kurdish female sniper story for SOFREP Editor Jack Murphy, who’s working it up right now, freshly back from Syria.

Ukraine’s Own “Joan of Ark”

Meet Nadiya Viktorivna Savchenko, a Ukrainian officer, member of parliament and not afraid to fight for a free and sovereign Ukraine.

At 16, Savchenko was already determined to become a pilot. She joined the Ukrainian Army, working as a radio operator with the country’s railway forces before training as a paratrooper. She was then the only Ukrainian female soldier in the (2004–2008) Ukrainian peacekeeping troops in Iraq. Upon returning, she successfully petitioned the Defense Ministry for the right to attend the prestigious Air Force University in Kharkiv, which until then had been open only to men; she graduated in 2009. 

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In 2010, she was posted to the 3rd Army Aviation Regiment in Brody, Lviv Oblast. In 2011, the Ukraine Defense Forces published a 20 minute documentary about Savchenko and her military career. She also featured in a United Nations Development Program as part of a drive to promote equality in the Ukrainian military. In 2014, she enrolled as a volunteer to fight in the Aidar Battalion. -Sourced from Wikipedia

Nadiya was apparently kidnapped by Russian loyalists on June 18th near the village of Metalist. The Russians seem to be playing roulette with, what appear to be, trumped-up charges regarding the killing of two Russian journalists, and on January 15th the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB, formerly known as the KGB) also charged her with illegal border crossing. She is currently being held in jail indefinitely.

A Defiant Nadiya Being Interrogated

Maybe the FSB will also blame Nadiya for the ill-fated Malaysian Flight 17 that was shot down with Russian rockets over Ukraine last year. All 298 souls on board perished.

Nadiya, by all accounts, is a hero to Ukraine and the free world.

“She’s our Joan of Arc,” said Valeriy Ryabykh, a military expert with the Defense Express magazine.

In many ways, she represents what my fellow veterans and I can identify with after the radical Islamic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Many gave up everything (some gave up high-paying jobs and promising careers) to volunteer to fight the enemies of America in the pursuit of protecting the free world; many Coalition members did the same. So we get Nadiya and what she did volunteering to fight for Ukraine.

The Time To Intervene Is Now

It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where Manhattanites enjoy their lattes one minute, and at the same time, half a world away, fourteen and fifteen year-old Ukrainian teenagers are being conscripted into service and sent to an early death at the hands of Putin’s proxies.

Note to the UN and Obama: You don’t win a war with UN blankets and medical aid.

Putin knows this, and he’s waging a text-book asymmetric Special Operations war in Ukraine. Send in specialized troops, build up a network of Ukrainian proxies to dish up civil war on an Oligarch golden platter. Feed the civil war until you wear down the population in the hope that the white flag goes up from the Ukraine regime. The scary thing about Putin is that his Eastern European Blitzkrieg is straight out of Hitler’s nationalism playbook. Claw back lost ground one dead Ukrainian teenager at a time, all in the name of a proud mother Russia.

It’s time for American and EU leaders to wake up, put down the golf clubs and fancy coffees for a moment and realize what’s happening in the real world.

We need to keep our commitments to a free Ukraine. If we don’t hold true to our word where Ukraine is concerned, then what happens next time when we make a promise?

Regardless of problems at home, America is a leader in the free world. Best we get to leading. The time to act in Ukraine is now, not when Putin almost has his way and an entire generation of Ukraine has been lost forever.

(Featured Image Courtesy: Newsweek)