Last Tuesday, after thirteen months of fighting in Ukraine, Yaryna Chornohuz got off a FlixBus in midtown Manhattan. Chornohuz, a twenty-seven-year-old recon soldier, drone pilot, and combat medic, wore her military uniform with sapphire earrings and a nose ring; she has a serpent tattooed on her forearm, and she had her hair in cornrows. “It’s an Army hair style in Ukraine,” she said.
She was visiting the US from the front; she is on a rotation in the Donbas. Standing on the corner of Eighth Avenue, she was approached by several pedestrians who asked about her rank. “I’m, like, light infantry,” she said. She explained that her fatigues were from the Ukrainian Army. One man shouted, “USA! USA!” A policeman asked her the brand of her boots.
Just before leaving for America, Chornohuz had gone to the gray zone—“territory that is not ours, but perhaps not theirs,” she said. “You