Ukrainian authorities have been criticised over official photos released on July 2 showing female cadets practising for a parade in heels.
The cadets were preparing for a military parade dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence, which will take place on Khreshchatyk, the main street of Kiev, on August 24.
“Today, for the first time, training takes place in heeled shoes,” cadet Ivanna Medvid was quoted as saying by the defence ministry’s information site, ArmiaInform. “It is a little harder than in boots, but we try.”
The photos sparked anger on social media and within the national parliament.
“Walking in the heat on our roads, the military risks injury, damage to shins, ligaments and even rubbing their feet,” Inna Sovsun, an opposition lawmaker, wrote on Facebook.
On July 3, Minister of Defense Andriy Taran said during a visit with the cadets that the possibility of “improved” and “ergonomic” shoes would be made available “in the shortest possible time.”
“It is simply inconvenient for female servicemen to walk in such shoes,” the Ministry of Defense said in a news release after the visit.
Roughly 31,000 women serve in the military and make up more than 15 percent of the Ukrainian armed forces, a figure that has more than doubled since 2014, according to the military. Credit: Ukrainian Defence Ministry via Storyful