Mystery of Ukraine's 'Lady Death' sniper who became national hero battling Putin's troops – but keeps identity secret

A SNIPER hailed as Ukraine's very own "Lady Death" has become a national hero as she defiantly battles Russian soldiers undercover.

Known only as Charcoal, the sharpshooter's identity is shrouded in mystery as she vows to fight Vladimir Putin's butchers "to the very end".

The markswoman joined the Ukrainian Marines in 2017 and spent years fighting pro-Kremlin separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk.

After serving on numerous tours in the east of the country, Charcoal left the Ukrainian armed forces in January – just weeks before Putin ordered his troops to invade on February 24.

The determined sniper volunteered to return to the front line with the 35th infantry brigade of Rear Admiral Mykhailo Ostrogradsky as she issued a rallying cry to Ukrainian troops.

“We must take them all out,” she said, reports The Times.

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“These people are not human beings. Even the fascists were not as vile as these orcs.

"We must defeat them.”

Charcoal – whose face has been partially covered in pictures to protect her identity – has been likened to Ukrainian-born sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko for her heroic efforts.

Pavlichenko earned herself the nickname Lady Death as she clocked up 309 Nazi kills in World War 2 and is claimed to have never lost a sniper duel during her years of service – always getting her man.

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She has been heralded as the most successful female sniper ever after serving in the Red Army in the defence of Odesa and Sevastopol before touring the US and England as a propoagandist.

Following in Pavlichenko's footsteps, Charcoal has now become a symbol of staunch Ukrainian resistance as soldiers bravely battle against Russian troops, who have been accused of genocide by Volodymyr Zelensky.

­The Ukrainian president fought back tears as he visited the town of Bucha where Putin’s troops have been accused of butchering civilians and burying them in mass graves.

Zelensky, who was visibly emotional, was flanked by security as he vowed to ensure that the “war crimes” committed by Russian soldiers on his country’s soil were “the last such evil on Earth”.

But in a blow to Putin's forces, a female Russian sniper with 40 kills to her name was captured after being abandoned on the battlefield, it was reported.

Irina Starikova – whose call sign is Bagira – is said to have told her captors she was left to die after being wounded in a battle with Ukrainian troops.

According to the Peacemaker centre, which researches crimes committed by Russian separatists in the Ukraine war, she is 41-years-old.

She also has two daughters, aged 11 and nine, and is divorced from their father Alexander Fedotov.

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Starikova served with the forces of the Russian separatist Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, which has been fighting the government in Kyiv since 2014.

Her capture was announced by the Ukrainian armed forces, who said she “shot our prisoners in 2014”, alongside pictures of her.

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