Gay Ukraine soldier marrying woman so she can ‘retrieve his body’ if he dies

A Ukraine soldier

A woman in Ukraine has said she plans to marry her gay soldier friend so someone can “claim him if he dies” while fighting in the war.

In the latest horrifying news from the war in Ukraine, Kyiv resident Leda Kosmachevskaya told the i newspaper that since same-sex marriage is illegal in the country, her friend would not have anybody to “retrieve his body or bury him” if he were to die at war.

The friend, who remained anonymous, has a partner, but due to the law, the army does not recognise his boyfriend as next of kin.

“His great fear was that nobody would be able to retrieve his body or bury him,” Kosmachevskaya, 33, told the i.

“He could be buried as an unknown person, or considered missing.”

Kosmachevskaya explained she had known the friend since childhood, but that the call asking her to marry him came completely out of the blue.

She spoke to her own partner, and accepted after hearing her soldier friend had been told he would be deployed to a dangerous area on the front line.

Two men sitting on a bunk bed in an LGBTQ+ shelter in Ukraine.

Two men sitting on a bunk bed in an LGBTQ+ shelter in Ukraine. (Provided)

Kosmachevskaya explained that the pair discussed his wishes, including organ donation and burial details, but hopefully, he will return safely from the war and they will get a divorce.

“I would be happy not to get into this arrangement,” she told the newspaper. “But this is the only way to help my friend.”

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has confirmed he will ask Ukraine’s government to look into legalising same-sex marriage after the war with Russia ends.

In July, a petition calling for the legalisation of marriage equality in Ukraine gained more than 28,000 signatures, passing the 25,000 threshold required for it to be considered by the president.

In August, Zelensky formally responded, noting that the constitution could not be changed during war time or in a state of emergency.

According to Reuters, in an official decree, he said: “I asked prime minister [Denys] Shmyhal to address the issue raised in the electronic petition and to inform me of relevant decisions.”

LGBTQ+ rights activists have asked for civil partnerships to be considered in the meantime, as in cases such as Kosmachevskaya’s, the bodies of LGBTQ+ soldiers cannot be collected by partners unless they are married.

She added to the i: “I hope this situation will help to resolve this issue [of same-sex marriage].

“I know there are many other people who are afraid to talk about this and keep silent because of negative comments.”

In a 2019 survey, 69 per cent of Ukrainians asked said “no” to the question: “Should society accept homosexuality?”