Russian citizen Polina Kushnir indeed is joining the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but her motivation is to take revenge on the enemy for the death of her husband. She told about this in an interview with Suspilne Vinnytsia.

«She betrayed her homeland, but never became one of them», «the widow will be used as cannon fodder» — with these shocking headlines pro-Russian media report that the wife of a fallen soldier with Russian citizenship was allegedly forced to join the Armed Forces under the threat of deportation. They are talking about Polina Kushnir, the widow of Vyacheslav Kushnir with the nickname Maus. Since 2017, her husband served in the Azov battalion, was the commander of the 1st platoon of the 2nd company of the 2nd battalion. On April 15, 2022, he was killed during the breakthrough to Azovstal, covering his comrades. Propagandists claim that after the death of her husband, Polina, who has not yet received Ukrainian citizenship, was threatened with deportation to Russia and forced to join the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

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However, in reality, Polina Kushnir gives completely different reasoning for her decision to join Azov. Since 2020, the woman has been living in Ukraine with her partner, but did not manage to get citizenship. Because of this, after her husband’s death, the migration service warned Polina that she had no legal grounds for staying in Ukraine, and could theoretically be deported. She was also offered the option of a fake marriage, but the woman refused: «I did not want to agree to a fake marriage in any case, because I am married. And I consider this marriage to be valid, despite the fact that my husband died.» 

However, the woman does not want to return to Russia, as well as associate herself with an enemy country. Now she is signing a contract with the Azov battalion to become a combat medic. According to Polina, her motivation is to avenge the death of Maus, and she only feels alive when she does something in his memory. The woman also says that  «… the army attracts me more in the sense that there is no other way, first of all. And secondly, my friends are there, my acquaintances are there, we are like one family, and I really need support. And Slavik’s brother also went to serve in Azov. I am already ready for changes in my life, now all that remains is to sign, and for the next three years I will be part of the brigade, and we will see. Until the war is over, I plan to stay in the army.» 

Polina recently organized a donation campaign dedicated to the second anniversary of her husband’s death — she collected 1 million 124 thousand hryvnias for the unit where Vyacheslav served.

Thus, Russian propaganda simply took Polina Kushnir’s quote out of context, where she complained about the lengthy bureaucratic procedure for obtaining Ukrainian citizenship. In reality, no one forced the woman to sign a contract with Azov.
Read another refutation about women in the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the article Fake: Women in the Armed Forces Not Given Equipment and Forced to Post Nudes for Donations.