Olena Bilozerska, 42, has fought in the blown-up buildings and trenches of contested Donbass in eastern Ukraine and says she will do it again if Russian troops invade
A battle-hardened Ukrainian sniper who has racked up 10 confirmed kills fighting pro-Russian separatists has vowed to fight Moscow’s forces if they invade.
Outspoken war veteran Olena Bilozerska, 42, has fought in the blown-up buildings and trenches of contested Donbass in eastern Ukraine and says she will do it again.
She rose to fame in an online video in which she can be heard commenting on the “bastards” she kills when she picks them up in cold blood in 2017.
Sniper Olena was only 200m from her enemy targets when she suddenly saw two of them crawling out of her trench.
They can be heard saying, “Ah, he got out. Look, look, look, crawling bastard.”
The first man’s form can be seen in her thermal sniper sight and then in the crosshairs of her high-powered rifle.
Seconds later, the image sharpens and she calmly fires three shots at the man’s body.
Soon another man is seen crawling near his now dead or dying comrade and she opens fire again, killing him.
And then a third man is seen and she shoots him too, his lifeless body falling backwards into his ditch.
She believes she has two kills and one wounded that night, but remains determined she did the right thing to protect the country she loves.
Now back in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, she recalls: “It was the night of Ukrainian Independence Day in August 2017.
Andy Commins/Daily Mirror)
“And those Cossacks must have assumed we were lying drunk in our trenches and partying.
“I had a feeling something interesting was going to happen when they started coming out of a ditch and handing guns to each other.
“‘I shot three of them that night.
“Two of them were what we call “Cargo 200”. [an old Soviet military term for dead, referring to the labels put on coffins] and the third was “cargo 300″ [wounded].”
Olena was a volunteer combatant but later joined the Ukrainian Marine Corps.
Now she says: “I was excited because that night a unit of six people came out of their trenches for both of us – it doesn’t happen every day.
“The moral fear of ‘murdering a man’ was invented by people far removed from war. An armed enemy is not a person but a target.
“You take up arms against my country – ready, you are a target. If you don’t take him out in time, he could kill you or one of your comrades.
“If I didn’t shoot in time and the target hid, I get mad at myself for missing my chance. And when the goal is reached, I feel the joy of a job well done.”
She doesn’t care about the lives of those she killed and she swears she would do it again.
She says: “If the enemy crawls towards our position to kill me, does he think if I have a husband, parents or children?
“‘Of course not. And I don’t bother with stupid things either. This stuff is for books and movies.
“In real life, anyone who thinks that way in battle is as good as dead.”
She escaped death one night when a tracer bullet from a machine gun grazed her cheek and seared her flesh.
She says: “Maybe someone took care of me that night.
“But we all have our share of luck, I think.”
She abhors the portrayal of snipers in the film world, saying:
“‘In the movies, it looks like a sniper would see the eyes of a live human. But you can’t see the eyes. It’s hard to tell if the person is tall or short.
“They only see the silhouette of an armed person and shoot at it. That’s all…if you miss, you’ll feel like you’ve lost.”
After the Independence Day incident, her husband Valeriy Voronov, a regular soldier who was in the trench next to her, collected the shell casings, following an old World War I sniper tradition.
The couple have no children.
He gave her a silver ring into which the bottom of the cartridge case of the bullet she was using was placed.
Olena from Kiev is a celebrity in Ukraine after writing a bestseller called Diary of an Illegal Soldier.”
She was known even before the war because the regime of Viktor Yanukovych, who was overthrown in the Maidan revolution in 2014, threatened her with imprisonment for her writing.
She says: “A creative nature requires perfectionism in everything and that helps me a lot in my work. But of course I’m not writing now.”
Andy Commins/Daily Mirror)
Despite being demobilized by the Marines in 2020, she and her husband are both members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Service and, along with thousands of other reservists, are ready to fight.
She believes Putin will not order an invasion and that his troop buildup is merely “intimidation.”
But along with many other Ukrainians, she is grateful for the support Boris Johnson and Britain have given their nation in the form of at least 2,000 NLAW anti-tank weapons plus training from British troops.
She says: “Ukrainians are now very grateful to Britain for military aid.
“And I saw a lot of people writing ‘God save the Queen’ on social media.
She still maintains her marksmanship by regularly training with “Halia” – a Ukrainian name she gave her Zbroyar Z-10 rifle.
She says: “A weapon is a living thing – it has a soul.
“There is a Ukrainian story about Spoilt Halia, that’s why I chose that name – the rifle is always cleaned and adjusted and cared for like a spoiled child.
“But she does as I ask her, and when the Russians come, I’ll be happy to introduce her to Halia.”