Foreign military aid has been so pivotal to Ukraine’s defense against Russia that one Ukrainian business is paying tribute with new products: plush toy versions of weapons breaking the back of Russian forces.
Kopytsia, an online store founded in 1998 in Ukraine’s Chernihiv region, has released a line of what it calls “patriotic soft toys” to honor the country’s resistance against Russia and the help it has received.
Among the toys on offer are huggable versions of Bayraktar TB3s, the Turkish-made drones that have played a major role in Ukraine’s defense, and Javelins, the anti-armor weapons that Ukraine has used to wipe out Russian tanks on the battlefield.
Also on offer is a miniature, 20-inch-long version of the Mriya cargo aircraft that was the heaviest plane ever built until it was destroyed in the battle for Antonov Airport outside Kyiv in the first days of Russia’s invasion in February.
Maria Kopytsia, who runs the family business alongside her father Anatoly, said the goal was “to uphold the patriotic mood of our nation and to support the armed forces of Ukraine.”
Ms. Kopytsia, who has stayed in Ukraine throughout the war, said the family launched the morale-boosting product line in the first two weeks of the war, but heavy fighting across north Ukraine, including in the Chernihiv region, made it impossible to deliver to the capital and other major cities.
Prices range between $8 and $12 for each toy. Ms. Kopytsia said sales of the toys will go toward paying their workers.
On Sunday, a photo posted by Ukrainian journalist Olga Tokariuk showing Ms. Kopytsia’s toys on sale at a store in western Ukraine went viral, and Ms. Kopytsia says interest in them has skyrocketed—despite some online criticism that they risk militarizing Ukrainian kids.
Ms. Kopytsia said she is grateful for Western assistance to Ukraine.
“If we can safeguard our country with their help, and I can live in an independent Ukraine, then I’m all for it,” she said.