Ukrainian mother, 52, arms herself with a huge rifle amid threat of Russian invasion

By David Averre For Mailonline Published: 19:16 GMT, 25 January 2022 | Updated: 19:36 GMT, 25 January 2022 A Ukrainian mother-of-three has been pictured arming herself with a huge rifle as thousands o

Ukrainian mother, 52, arms herself with a huge rifle amid threat of Russian invasion

Ukrainian mother, 52, arms herself with a huge rifle to fight Russian invasion and warns 'if there's a need for the shooting to start, then I'll start shooting' - as Macron issues new warning to Putin that price of offensive will be 'high'

  • Mother-of-three Mariana Zhaglo, 52, is far from a typical Ukrainian soldier
  • But the marketing researcher is prepared for war amid tensions with Russia 
  • She is one of thousands of Ukrainian civilians joining a voluntary defence force  
  • It comes as French president became the latest Western leader to warn Russia

A Ukrainian mother-of-three has been pictured arming herself with a huge rifle as thousands of the nation's civilians prepare for the prospect of a Russian invasion.

Mariana Zhaglo is far from a typical Ukrainian soldier, but the 52-year-old marketing researcher has said she is willing to do whatever it takes to defend her country. 

'As a mother I do not want my children to inherit Ukraine's problems, or have these threats passed on to them. It is better that I deal with this now,' Mariana said.

'If it comes to it then we will fight for Kiev; we will fight to protect our city. If there is a need for the shooting to start, then I'll start shooting,' the mother continued, as she showed off her newly-bought Zbroyar Z-15 rifle in her flat in the Ukrainian capital.

She went on to explain that the Zbroyar Z-15 is a hunting rifle, but that she has no intentions of hunting.

'I have never hunted in my life. I bought this carbine after listening to some soldiers discussing the best rifle to get,' Mariana told The Times.

The marketing research is just one of thousands of Ukrainians who recently joined the nation's Territorial Defence Forces (TDF) - a voluntary section of the army which has seen its numbers swell amid rising tensions on the Russian border.

It comes as French President Emmanuel Macron today became the latest Western leader to promise a 'retaliation' should Russia proceed with an invasion of its neighbour. 

'If there is an attack, there will be retaliation and the price (for Russia) will be very high,' Macron said, urging Russia to de-escalate.

Russia meanwhile maintains that there is no plan to invade Ukraine and has accused NATO and the West of escalating tensions in the region.

Mariana Zhaglo is far from a typical Ukrainian soldier, but the 52-year-old marketing researcher has said she is willing to do whatever it takes to defend her country. 'As a mother I do not want my children to inherit Ukraine's problems, or have these threats passed on to them. It is better that I deal with this now,' Mariana said as she showed off her newly-bought Zbroyar Z-15 rifle in her flat in the Ukrainian capital

Mariana Zhaglo is far from a typical Ukrainian soldier, but the 52-year-old marketing researcher has said she is willing to do whatever it takes to defend her country. 'As a mother I do not want my children to inherit Ukraine's problems, or have these threats passed on to them. It is better that I deal with this now,' Mariana said as she showed off her newly-bought Zbroyar Z-15 rifle in her flat in the Ukrainian capital

Employees of essential city industries and services attend a military training session outside Lviv, Ukraine January 25, 2022

Employees of essential city industries and services attend a military training session outside Lviv, Ukraine January 25, 2022

The marketing research is just one of thousands of Ukrainians who recently joined the nation's Territorial Defence Forces (TDF) - a voluntary section of the army which has seen its numbers swell amid rising tensions on the Russian border.

The marketing research is just one of thousands of Ukrainians who recently joined the nation's Territorial Defence Forces (TDF) - a voluntary section of the army which has seen its numbers swell amid rising tensions on the Russian border.

Civilians, including Tatiana (L), 21, a university veterinary medicine student who is also enrolled in a military reserve program, participate in a Kiev Territorial Defence unit training on a Saturday in a forest on January 22, 2022

Civilians, including Tatiana (L), 21, a university veterinary medicine student who is also enrolled in a military reserve program, participate in a Kiev Territorial Defence unit training on a Saturday in a forest on January 22, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron today became the latest Western leader to issue a warning to Russia should it decide to invade Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron today became the latest Western leader to issue a warning to Russia should it decide to invade Ukraine

Russia meanwhile has maintained it has no plans for an invasion and has accused NATO and the West of stoking tensions

Russia meanwhile has maintained it has no plans for an invasion and has accused NATO and the West of stoking tensions

The hunting rifle wasn't a one-off purchase for Mariana.

In addition to dropping over £950 on the weapon, she also attended a two-week sniper course and had several attachments fitted - including a bipod, a telescopic sight and a silencer - to ensure she could be as lethal as possible.   

Mariana went on to spend another £830 on military garb - a helmet, snow camouflage, bulletproof vest, ammo and boots - and has stocked up on canned goods so she can remain holed up in the apartment for weeks.

But the 52-year-old is just one of thousands of civilians, from veterinary medical students to architects, who have joined the TDF - Ukraine's army reserves - to be trained for armed conflict.

The Kiev branch of the TDF ran a training exercise over the weekend in the snow covered forests outside the capital, while scores of civilians across the country - many of them young - have signed up to similar training programs to receive basic combat skills. 

In the event of a potential invasion by Russia, these youngsters will be part of the country's civil resistance that will carry on the fight against Russian soldiers if Ukraine's 255,000-strong regular army is overwhelmed.

Young men and women, some as young as 21, have been taking part in Kiev Territorial Defence unit training over the weekend in a snow-covered forest in the capital, as they prepare for a possible conflict with Moscow

Young men and women, some as young as 21, have been taking part in Kiev Territorial Defence unit training over the weekend in a snow-covered forest in the capital, as they prepare for a possible conflict with Moscow

Civilians participate in TDF training in a forest outside Kiev on January 22, 2022. In the event of a potential invasion by Russia, these youngsters will be part of the country's civil resistance that will carry on the fight against Russian soldiers if Ukraine's 255,000-strong regular army is overwhelmed.

Civilians participate in TDF training in a forest outside Kiev on January 22, 2022. In the event of a potential invasion by Russia, these youngsters will be part of the country's civil resistance that will carry on the fight against Russian soldiers if Ukraine's 255,000-strong regular army is overwhelmed. 

The region has been on a knife-edge since the end of last year when Moscow moved as many as 100,000 troops, as well as tanks and missiles, close to its border with Ukraine, but tensions have ramped up in recent days after a surge in equipment and troop movements, among them military police, from the extreme east of Russia.

Mariana told The Times that many Ukrainians have learned to live with the threat of a potential invasion ever since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and said it is not unusual for Russia to intermittently increase troop deployments near the border. 

But she remained resolute in her intention to remain in the capital and fight in the event of an invasion.

'Neither my husband nor I have any living relatives elsewhere, we have nowhere else to go. This is our home. We will fight for it,' she declared.

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