Women serving in the Ukrainian military will be provided with specially designed body armor for the first time, after Ukraine's Defense Ministry announced on Dec. 27 that it had certified a sample of bulletproof vests for female soldiers.
While Ukraine only conscripts men, over 62,000 women voluntarily serve in Ukraine's Armed Forces, 5,000 of whom have active combat roles.
They generally rely on uniforms and armor designed for men, or buy their own gear or find supplies via non-profits.
The newly approved vest features a curved armor plate and narrower shoulders to provide a better fit for female soldiers, and is made domestically by the company Ukrainian Armor.
The company led a campaign in September to draw attention to the need for body armor for women serving in the Ukrainian military.
The weight of the armor, which is at least 10.5 kilograms, does not differ from other body armor in use.
According to the Defense Ministry, the vest was approved after two stages of testing. After the first stage of field tests, the design was refined to fit the female body better.
Certification is the first step in the process toward female soldiers being able to wear the vests in the combat zone.
The Defense Ministry said it must first ascertain how many vests are needed and then arrange procurement, but did not indicate a timeline for this.
The Defense Ministry approved a standard sample of summer field uniforms for female soldiers in August, 18 months into the full-scale invasion.