Marcel Gascon |
Kiev (EFE).- Almost every day in an apartment block in the southeast of Kiev, a dozen women meet to make “kikímoras”, as the camouflage strips that allow snipers to blend in with the landscape are known in Ukraine. .
“We made the first one, we tried it on the trees in the park and we sent it to the front,” explains Julia Julaeva, the promoter of the idea, to EFE. “The snipers told us that it was fantastic and suggested some improvements, like adding more sack straps and a rubber band to adjust the hood,” says Julaeva.
The success of the first test led Julaeva and the other initiators of the project to intensify production, and the group has already provided the army of their country with 175 camouflage suits that can be used by snipers but also by soldiers who lie down. to the mountains on reconnaissance missions.
Invisible a 15 metros
Dressed in the suits these women make for themselves, Ukrainian snipers can operate unseen at a distance of just 15 meters from the enemy, say soldiers who have worn these uniforms.
Julaeva also recounts that the snipers dressed in their “kikímoras” are also imperceptible to night heat sensors if they are left out long enough in cold weather.
of different models
In this improvised military tailoring workshop, two different models of “kikímora” are produced. The most common is made with green and camouflage fabrics and with pieces of hemp sack, but during the winter white “kikímoras” have also been made so that the soldiers could operate in the snow.
The idea, especially in the case of the first model, is that there are not too many sections of clothing or uniform prints that clash with the irregular and variegated surfaces of nature.
As Valentina Todosienko, a professional dressmaker and owner of the apartment where these women cut and sew, explains, 12 meters of textile material is needed for each suit, which they receive from donations from those who follow the group’s work on Facebook.
Todosienko has made patterns for the two models they produce, since the winter one needs to be larger because of the bulky warm clothing that the soldiers wear then, and also for covers to hide the rifles, bandages, first-aid kit, and pillow on the bed. that sometimes supports the shooter’s elbow.
The work in Valentina Todosienko’s salon did not stop even with the constant blackouts caused by the Russian bombardments against the electrical system of kyiv and the rest of Ukraine.
When the sewing machines could not be turned on, the dressmakers took the opportunity to cut the materials and leave them ready for when the light returned.
Todosienko has ended up buying a car battery that allows him to have electricity even during blackouts.
a mythological creature
The camouflage suits they make are known in Ukraine as “kikimoras” after the furry and menacing creature of the same name from Slavic mythology. Like the Kikimoras of mythology, camouflaged snipers cannot be seen and cause restlessness and terror in the enemy.
On the occasion of the interview with EFE, these dressmakers who dress their country’s army marksmen serve sweets and chocolates and open bottles of wine with which they toast the “victory” over Russia with patriotic music on their mobile phones.
Optimism and euphoria fade momentarily when they talk about the soldiers who die and risk their lives every day at the front.