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The story of Ukraine’s two murderous female snipers

Ukraine hailed Charcoal, a sniper, as the “hero of modern warfare”. Comparisons have been drawn to “Lady Death”, the iconic sniper who served in the Red Army and killed 306 enemy soldiers at the age of 25.

Charcoal joined the Ukrainian army in 2017 and fought in the east of the country against Russian-backed separatists. Image Courtesy: ВМС ЗС України/Facebook

Ukraine has a new national hero and she’s a sniper. She is only identified by her call sign “Ugoloik” which means “Charcoal” and the Ukrainian Armed Forces hailed her as a “hero of modern warfare”.

Charcoal has been compared to Lady Death, dubbed the deadliest female sniper in history, who was part of World War II.

A look back at the stories of Charcoal and Lady Death, women who fought on the front lines more than 80 years apart but are now part of legend.


The images of the sniper were posted by the Ukrainian army on Facebook. His face is partially hidden by a shemagh-style scarf, his weapon covered in camouflage netting.

The sniper reportedly joined the Ukrainian army in 2017 and fought in the east of the country against Russian-backed separatists.

Back in service

She was on hiatus, but when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, she resumed duty.

“They are not people. The Nazis weren’t as vile as those orcs,” the sniper allegedly said of the Russians, reports The New York Post. “We will definitely win. Personally, I will hold out until the end!

Charcoal is determined not to spare the Russian soldiers. “We have to eliminate them all,” she said.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces did not provide any information about his successes in the war. But if Charcoal is indeed a heroine of war, she joins a tradition of brave snipers in the country.

Lady Death

The most talked about sniper in history, Ukrainian-born Lyudmila Pavlichenko, served in the Soviet Red Army and is believed to have killed more than 300 Nazi soldiers during World War II. She earned the nickname “Lady Death” and was named a Hero of the Soviet Union, the USSR’s highest honor, and was awarded the Order of Lenin.

Pavlichenko took up shooting at a young age, joining a shooting club. While studying at kyiv University, she enrolled in a sniper school.

The story of Ukraine’s two murderous female snipers

Soviet Red Army sniper Lyudmila Pavlyuchenko defends Sevastopol against the Nazis on June 6, 1942. AFP

When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Pavlichenko reached the recruiting office in Odessa. The recruitment agent talked her out of it, asking her to become a nurse instead. But Pavlichenko did not move.

After joining the Red Army, Pavlichenko had his own problems. There was a shortage of weapons and she had to make do with a frag grenade instead of a rifle, according to UNITED KINGDOM HISTORY. “It was very frustrating to have to watch the unfolding of the battle with a single grenade in my hand,” Pavlichenko wrote in her memoir, Lady Death: The Memoirs of Stalin’s Sniper.

“Baptism by Fire”

A wounded soldier who could not continue, handed Pavlichenko his Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle. The skilled sniper was quick to open her “personal account with the enemy”.

She killed two Romanian soldiers after being given the green light, a moment she describes as a “baptism by fire”.

There was no looking back then. Over time, she honed her skills, often taking on German snipers. A duel lasted three days, according to UNITED KINGDOM HISTORYwhich she described as “one of the most tense experiences of my life”.

She fell in love on the battlefield but it didn’t end well – her lover is said to have died in her arms. But that did not stop her from continuing her duty.

The Germans feared her, even trying to bribe her. “Lyudmila Pavlichenko, come to us. We will give you lots of chocolate and make you a German officer,” Pavlichenko recalls hearing over the loudspeaker one day, reports UNITED KINGDOM HISTORY.

Pavlichenko was injured four times during the battle – shrapnel hitting her in the face ended her fight.

All-round support

After the shooter recovered, she began garnering support from the Soviet Union, visiting the United States, Canada, and Britain.

In the United States, Pavlichenko became the first Soviet citizen to be received by an American president – ​​Franklin D Roosevelt welcomed her to the White House, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt befriended her.

While on tour in Chicago, the sniper slapped the men in the audience, “Gentlemen. I’m 25 and I’ve already killed 309 fascist occupiers. Don’t you think, gentlemen, that Have you been hiding behind my back for too long?

After returning home, she continued to train soldiers, and after the conflict she completed her studies and became a historian.

The war continues to haunt her. She died aged 58 from a stroke after suffering from PTSD, depression and alcoholism.

His legend, of course, lives on.

With contributions from agencies

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