Who is Irina Starikova? Deadly Russian sniper 'Bagira' captured after being abandoned on battlefield
Irina Starikova, whose call sign is 'Bagira', reportedly told her captors that she was abandoned on the battlefield after being wounded
Ukraine has claimed to have captured a deadly female Russian sniper with over 40 kills to her name after she was allegedly left for dead on the battlefield. Irina Starikova, whose call sign is 'Bagira', reportedly told her captors that she was abandoned on the battlefield after being wounded while fighting Ukrainian troops. Peacemaker center, which researches crimes committed by Russian separatists in the war in Ukraine, said that the woman is 41.
Giorgi Revishvili, a researcher at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, confirmed that Starikova has been captured. The Ukrainian armed forces also confirmed the same, saying she “shot our prisoners in 2014". It is said that she has killed at least 40 Ukrainians, including civilians. Reports claimed that she was provided with medical treatment after being captured, and she was quoted as saying that “they left, knowing that I was injured and had the opportunity to pick me up…hoping that I would die.”
Who is Irina Starikova?
Reports say that Starikova is originally from Serbia and was being hunted by Ukrainians since 2014, but she is not from Serbia as some accounts say, nor was she a nun-turned-sniper. She was a sniper of 11th Specialized Special Operations Division. The Peacemaker center says that she had been awarded the George Cross medal for her work.
According to researchers, Starikova is married to a soldier called Aleksandr Ogrenich from Belarus. A 2017 report from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union states that he goes by the call sign Gorynych. He reportedly also fights for the Russian separatists armed forces and the rebel commander claims to have shot more than 100 Ukrainians. He headed a separatist 'intelligence unit' from around 2014. Starikova has two daughters, aged 11 and nine.
On the other hand, fighting on the Ukrainian side is one of the world's most deadly snipers, known only by his nickname 'Wali'. He answered President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's call for foreign volunteers to fight against Russia. “I want to help them. It’s as simple as that,” Wali reportedly said. "I have to help because there are people here being bombarded just because they want to be European and not Russian.”
Wali, 40, hails from the Royal Canadian 22nd Regiment. He was previously involved in combat in the Kandahar theater during the Afghanistan War between 2009 and 2011. In 2015, Wali traveled to Iraq to help fight the Islamic State's forces.