A deadly Russian sniper with more than 40 kills has reportedly been captured in Ukraine after being left on the battlefield.
Two-year-old Irina Starikova, 41, codenamed Bagheera after Rudyard Kipling’s black panther in The Jungle Book, is now in captivity after being found wounded and abandoned by her comrades.
The captured sniper, who is originally from Donetsk and has two daughters – Valeria, 11, and Yulia, 9, is said to have “the blood of at least 40 people on her hands, including civilians.”
Their fate is now unknown after a Kyiv military spokesman was credited with saying that “anyone who kills peaceful people on our land faces retribution.”
There are claims that she was abandoned by her comrades after she was wounded.
“Knowing that I was injured and having the opportunity to come and pick me up, they just decided to leave me there hoping I would die,” she is quoted as saying.
According to the Peacemaker Center, which investigates crimes committed by Russian separatists in the Ukraine war, Starikova served in the armed forces of the Russian separatist region of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, which has been fighting the government in Kyiv since 2014.
She had been wanted by Ukrainians for years for her alleged role in a war crime involving the shooting of prisoners.
Her capture was announced by Ukrainian forces, who, alongside pictures of her, said she “shot our prisoners in 2014”.
Starikova’s capture was also confirmed by Giorgi Revishvili, a researcher in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.
He tweeted, “Ukrainian forces captured notorious snipers fighting on the side of ORDLO with call sign Bagira,” referring to the name Kyiv gives to the breakaway Russian-speaking regions.
Revishvili added that she was reportedly responsible for the “killing of 40 Ukrainians, including civilians.”
Ukrainian news website Obozrevatel quotes a soldier named Vlad Ivanov as saying Starikova received medical treatment when she was captured.
Starikova was reportedly a sniper with the 11th Specialized Special Operations Division.
According to the Peacemaker Center, she was awarded the George Cross Medal for her work.
The researchers also say that she is married to a soldier from Belarus named Aleksandr Ogrenich.
According to a 2017 report by Ukraine’s Helsinki Human Rights Union, he goes by the callsign Gorynych and also fights for Russian separatist forces.
There have been other claims that she was believed to be originally born in Serbia and was reportedly a former professional handball player named Daniela Lazovic.
It is reported that she was once a nun who became a drug dealer before converting to Islam.
She has been fighting for the pro-Russian rebels in Donestk since 2014, when Russia invaded Ukrainian territory in Crimea and parts of the Donbass.
Russia supported separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine during a conflict that has killed more than 14,000 people in seven years.
The trigger for the open conflict was the Ukrainian revolution in 2014 – when an uprising toppled the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych.
A Canadian soldier described as one of the deadliest snipers in the world is reportedly fighting on the Ukrainian side.
Nicknamed Vali, the trained hitman responded to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call for foreign volunteers.
The 40-year-old previously served twice as a sniper with the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2011.
Wali had previously traveled alone to Iraq in 2015 to fight against IS.
Armed with a £5,000 military-grade .338 sniper rifle, the feared marksman claims he can kill from 1,531 yards.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/female-russian-sniper-with-over-40-kills-captured-in-ukraine-after-being-left-for-dead-41503163.html Russian sniper with 40+ kills who was captured in Ukraine after being presumed dead