Russian-Ukrainian Female Tank Commander 'Defects' For Love

Svitlana Dryuk gained notoriety as a tank commander for separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. (file photo)

RFE: Female Tank Commander 'Defects' For Love, Warns Kyiv Of 'Invasion' Plan

KYIV -- It may be a Ukrainian love story as complicated and dubious as the motives behind the simmering war itself: A female separatist commander and star propagandist for Russia-backed separatists defects to Kyiv to be with her Ukrainian spy lover. But she also brings word of Russian plans for a massive invasion. Moreover, she's ready to testify in The Hague to Moscow's role in alleged war crimes.

Svitlana Dryuk, the notorious commander of an all-female tank crew for anti-Kyiv forces in some of the bloodiest battles of the five-year conflict, aired her allegations on Ukraine's 1+1 TV channel on March 3.

The report was met with celebration by many Ukrainians who cited her defection and disclosures as a victory, worry by others who took seriously her claims of a return to possible all-out war, and indignation by former separatist comrades who said she should be "hanged" as a "turncoat."

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WNU Editor: Defections have happened on both sides. But this one appears to have rattled the separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. Not because she is claiming of war crimes (which both sides have committed) or Russian plans to invade Ukraine with 100,000 soldiers in 4 hours time (which I doubt), but because she is one of their propagandist darlings. In the meantime the war grinds on .... Mud, snipers and a global flashpoint: On the frontlines of Ukraine's frozen war (NBC).

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