What’s next for veterans in Ukraine?

Promoting inclusion to improve the reintegration architecture for former combatants

Based on findings from research in Ukrainian government-controlled areas, this policy brief explores the role of gender norms, norms of masculinity and femininity, in shaping reintegration experiences of female and male former combatants – professional soldiers, conscripts and volunteers – who fought in Eastern Ukraine between 2014 and 2017.

It shows how gender expectations, norms and roles significantly influence reintegration challenges and opportunities for female and male former combatants and those with disabilities. Building on these findings, the brief advocates for inclusive and gender-sensitive analyses, policies and initiatives aimed at facilitating the transition of all female and male former combatants back to civilian life.

It specifically highlights three priorities targeted at Ukrainian state institutions working with former combatants as well as international donors and bilateral partners working for stability in Ukraine:

  • Factor in individual needs and challenges of female and male veterans, and female and male veterans with disabilities, while developing the new centralised veterans’ support system;
  • Enhance national capacities and technical expertise necessary to implement and strengthen this system; and
  • Recognise and support the complementary role played by NGOs, businesses and broader veterans’ networks in providing vital services to veterans.