The story of Irynka, the 8-year-old “angel” of the Ukrainian resistance who asked Zelensky where to buy a Javelin missile

Irynka, the 8-year-old girl who lost her father at the front and sells flower crowns to raise money and help the Armed Forces

the war on Ukraine They are not just numbers, they are people and each one of them is crossed in a different way. This is the story of Irynka, an 8-year-old girl who grew up in a combat zone. Two months after the start of the Russian invasion, she lost her father at the front. Now, she decided to take her place and defend her country from where she can, for which many nicknamed her the “angel” of war.

On February 24, 2022, when Russia started the advance on Ukrainian territory, Irynka or Ira did not need explanations. She already knew what it was about. her father, AlexanderHe was a career military man and had prepared his family for what might come. For this very reason, although Irynka did not live between missiles and explosions until the conflict began, she knew what could happen, where the nearest shelter was and how to act in an emergency. She looked at her father as a great example, a hero, according to what they told infobae the girl and her mother, Victoria.

A love at first sight and a family story

Victoria met Olexander, alias “Sasha”, in 2014, the year Russia annexed crimea. In these hostilities, the woman lost her brother and who would be her husband a short time later came to say goodbye to her. There they met and were never separated.

“I think it was love at first sight,” said Ira’s mother. And so it was, just two weeks later they got married, despite the fact that all their acquaintances disbelieved in their future as a couple. They were wrong.

The family grew with the arrival of Ira. “Irynka is her father’s daughter, he loved her very much. He spent all the time with her, ”Victoria recalled. The three lived a few years of peace and harmony until the Russian invasion began.

On February 24, they received the news of the start of a full-scale war, and fear could not help but seize Victoria. On the one hand, for her daughter and, on the other, for her husband. Irynka, barely six years old, tried to calm her down: “Mom, we know everything, we know how to act,” she told her.

8-year-old Ukrainian girl sells flower crown at a fair
Irynka decided to take her father’s place and defend her homeland.

Olexander was sent to the region of kyiv, where there was heavy fighting, but every day he communicated with them and kept them updated on the situation. While he was fighting at the front, Irynka and her mother wove camouflage nets to help the Ukrainian troops, all at the girl’s initiative.

On March 15, 2022, they were both able to video call Olexander for his birthday. Twelve days later he would communicate for the last time: he had warned them that he would not have a signal for a while. Irynka that night was very restless and desperate to hear from her father. The next day, Victoria tried to contact her husband, but the line was out of the coverage area. She tried to speak to her commander and got the same response, so she held out some hope.

8-year-old Ukrainian girl sells flower crown at a fair
Irynka in front of her father’s grave

After two days without hearing from Olexander, Ira’s mother called the wife of one of her husband’s companions while the minor was sleeping. “She told me that Sasha was no longer alive and I started screaming loudly. Irynka heard him and understood what had happened.. I don’t remember the funeral and everything that followed, ”he recounted through tears.

The weeks after the news, both Victory like Ira breathed but did not live. That status changed from one moment to the next when the girl decided to take her father’s place and help Ukraine with whatever she could.

The morning that changed everything

Ira went to bed one night and woke up the next day a completely different person because, in her sleep, she found another way to live her pain: to help protect her country.

He woke up very early, around five in the morning, and went to his mother’s room to tell her the idea he had. And since then, both have been in constant motion.

8-year-old Ukrainian girl sells flower crown at a fair
Irynka sells her crowns at fairs and online

Since my dad died, I decided to defend our Ukraine in his place”, she confidently told infobae the girl. At first, Ira tried to make cookies and sell them, but it was complicated. For this reason, he chose to make the flower crowns that he has been making for years, to later sell them at fairs and the Internet and be able to buy items that are useful for the brigade of which his father was a part.

Depending on the time he has, he makes between 5 to 15 crowns per day. The smallest ones cost 150 grivinas and the largest ones 250, which would be the equivalent of approximately 4 and 6 dollars. At his last fair alone, he earned close to USD 350. However, most of the people who buy from him pay more to help the cause. A Canadian, for example, gave him a thousand dollars for one of her crowns. Thus, he managed to raise enough money to donate six cars, five thermal imaging cameras, one anti-drone weapon, two drones, three tablets, three chainsaws, one rangefinder, and one spyglass.

On all the donated items, she leaves her own signature, as they bear a heart with the colors of Ukraine and her name, in the hope that it will work as an amulet and provide protection for the military.

8-year-old Ukrainian girl sells flower crown at a fair
One of the cars that Irynka donated that bears her signature as an amulet

However, his biggest dream currently is to be able to donate a “javelin”, a portable anti-tank missile developed in the United States, because she is convinced that it will be of vital importance to defeat the Russians. Her intention is so strong that even when she met with the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenskyone of the first things he asked her was: “Where can you buy a Javelin?”

The commitment that Irynka puts every day in her work to defend her country led the girl to receive a series of national and international recognitions. He Ministry of Defence awarded him the award ofVolunteer from Ukraine”, while he received a certificate of honor from the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forcesas well as having a badge of a Polish organization.

8-year-old Ukrainian girl sells flower crown at a fair
Irynka with one of her decorations

But there is a recognition that she valued more than any medal: the members of her father’s brigade nicknamed her the “angel” of war. Ira managed to give another meaning to her pain and follow the teachings of her hero in the hope that one day soon her country will defeat Russia. After that victory, she says that she plans to create a valley, as a symbolic barrier, to ensure that the Russians never return.