The February invasion of a larger and more powerfully equipped Russian army accelerated changes already under way within the Ukrainian military in its eight-year battle against Russian separatist proxies.

“On February 24, everything changed,” said Ms Chornohuz, who at 27 has fought for a decade for a democratic Ukraine with a European outlook.

Before she was a warrior, she was an activist. In 2013, when the Euromaidan protests broke out, she was a literature student in the capital, Kyiv, who joined the revolution to oust Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian president.

A struggle for the future of Ukraine was under way, with the Kremlin supporting pro-Russian forces inside the country who opposed greater integration with the West. Young activists like Ms Chornohuz threw themselves into promoting the Ukrainian language as a cornerstone of a national identity free from Moscow’s influence.

“I was one of those Ukrainians who understood long before 2014 that Russia would attack us…