Olena Kurilo: Woman who became bloodied 'face of war' vows to defend country

Olena Kurilo: Woman who became bloodied 'face of war' vows to defend country
Teacher whose blood-covered face is the iconic image of Ukraine invasion (Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A woman who survived a Russian missile attack in the wake of the Ukraine invasion has now promised to 'do everything for my motherland'. Her blood-covered face has become an iconic image after her home country was struck. 

Olena Kurilo was standing outside her destroyed home in Chuguev. Located in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine, Kurilo says she is 'very lucky' and thinks she 'must have a guardian angel' owing to which she survived the attack.


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This teacher also expressed that she 'never thought that this would truly happen in my lifetime'. She also spoke of the damage this attack did to her home as it was 'completely destroyed'. Earlier during the same day when the missile attack happened on Thursday, February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised the citizens of Ukraine that there was 'no threat to the population'. Putin said this is because his Russian forces will make use of 'precision weapons'. Putin accused Ukraine of seeking nuclear weapons in a speech on February 21 and called the Ukrainian government a "neo-Nazi" regime, which was responsible for further bloodshed. As soon as Putin announced the military operation in Ukraine, explosions were heard across the country, prompting swift international condemnation. He justified the operation by accusing the Kyiv government of overseeing a “genocide” in the east of the country. 

Civilian participants in a Kyiv Territorial Defence unit train on a Saturday in a forest on January 22, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops on its border to Ukraine. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

However, midday Kiev confirmed that at least 40 civilians had been killed. One of them was a young boy in an apartment block in Kharkiv. Others were injured and some are believed to have died in the attack. Sometime around midday on Thursday, February 24, images of bloodied civilians struggling on the streets also emerged. Ukraine's leader said his country "won't give up its freedom".
"Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted.

Kurilo said she 'never thought' Russia would invade her country but she made a promise to 'stand up and go' to defend her country Ukraine. She added, "I will do everything for Ukraine, as much as I can, with as much energy as I have. I will always only be on my motherland's side. I myself am a director, an educator, we studied the history, but we never thought that this would happen on our land." Talking of her completely destroyed home, the teacher said, "There are no windows, no doors, one door ever flew out, even the floor has been completely ripped off."

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