Russian Company to Start Selling Ukrainian Separatist Bikini Range

Ukraine bikinis
Among other items, the swim-wear bears the flags of Novorossiya and the Ukrainian separatists. Voenpro

While most of the fashion world turns its gaze toward London's runways in search of the latest avant-garde designs for London Fashion Week, one Russian company has drawn sartorial inspiration much closer to home, in neighbouring Ukraine's eastern, war-stricken regions.

Moscow-based company Voenpro has launched a 2015 collection of swimsuits, bikinis, dresses, jackets, hot pants and even baby dummies bearing the livery of the Kremlin-backed separatist rebels in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region who have been fighting the Kiev-loyal army since last spring.

According to the company the collection is meant to "symbolise the return to normal, peaceful life in Donbas," urging prospective customers to "make gifts, not war".

Among the products which bear the crest and red, blue and black colours of the Donbas separatists, items from the collection also use the old Imperial name for the Donbas area and other territories in present-day Ukraine - Novorossiya (New Russia).

The term has been used by Russian president Vladimir Putin and other figures of the Russian establishment since Ukraine's pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted last February and refers to a historically controversial notion of a resurgent 18th century Russian imperial entity on the territory of present-day southern Ukraine.

While neither Ukraine's capital city of Kiev nor its western city of Lviv have been historically placed within the territory of 'Novorossiya' and pro-Russian rebels are far from either, Voenprom point out they also sell a medal celebrating "the capture of Kiev and Lviv".

In a similarly cynical act of commerical forward planning, the store also advertises the medal for "the Liberation of Slaviansk and Odessa", even though neither city has experienced recent pro-Russian unrest.

The collection, called Novorossiya 2015 also contains children's teddy bears, watches, cuff links, wristbands and thermoses, though currently only a mock-up of a medal awarded by the separatists fighting near Donetsk is available for purchase, while the rest of the collection will be "in stock soon".

Voenpro, who primarily specialise in Russian military memorabilia already has other merchandise using Novorossiya imagery on sale, however, including flags and fridge magnets bearing the faces of separatist leaders.

Meanwhile other online sellers offer merchandise, emblazoned with the symbols of pro-Kiev forces such as the Azov volunteer battalion and the right-wing organisation Right Sector, which are available for purchase.

Products from this line-up include iPhone cases, T-shirts, mugs and rucksacks available from Zazzle.

Kiev-based military memorabilia and equipment chain Militarist offers patches of the parliamentary union Ukrop, which consists of former Euro Maidan protesters as well as former pro-Kiev battalion leaders.

For anyone looking to show their sympathy for Ukraine's people without endorsing any militias, shops such as Planet Patriot have also made it possible to buy anything from a tracksuit, to cushions, to car ornaments, hip flasks and shot glasses bearing nothing but Ukraine's national 'tryzub' triton and its blue and yellow colours.