Woman in iconic image of Russian missile strike shows love of nature

Ukrainian who emerged bloodied but alive in iconic image of Russian missile strike shows off her love of nature in charming pictures from before Putin invaded her homeland

  • Ukrainian woman whose image became symbol of the war shows love of nature
  • Olena Kurilo, 53, was pictured with a blood-covered face outside her house
  • Her home in Chuguev, Kharkiv, was destroyed by a missile strike on Thursday
  • The schoolteacher has released a set of photos of herself surrounded by flowers
  • A Ukrainian woman who emerged bloodied but alive and was photographed in a now-iconic image after a Russian missile strike has shown off her love of nature in a set of charming pictures from before Putin invaded.

    Schoolteacher Olena Kurilo, 53, has seen her blood-covered face become the archetypal image associated with the invasion of Ukraine.

    Speaking with a heavily bandaged face outside her destroyed home in Chuguev, Kharkiv, in the northeast of Ukraine, on Thursday, she said she was ‘very lucky’ and admitted ‘I must have a guardian angel’ to have survived the attack. 

    The teacher said she ‘never thought that this would truly happen in my lifetime’ as, her voice catching in her throat, she described the damage to her ‘completely destroyed’ house.  

    Schoolteacher Olena Kurilo, 53, has shown off her love of nature in photos from before Russia's war with Ukraine

    Schoolteacher Olena Kurilo, 53, has shown off her love of nature in photos from before Russia’s war with Ukraine

    Olena Kurilo in a blue dress with white flowers

    Olena Kurilo in a pink dress standing in a tree with pink flowers

    She was able to enjoy the natural world before Putin invaded Ukraine. Olena Kurilo in a blue dress with white flowers (left) and in a pink dress standing in a tree with pink flowers (right)

    Olena Kurilo, whose blood-covered face has become an iconic image of the invasion of Ukraine, has vowed to 'do everything for my motherland' after she survived a Russian missile attack on Thursday morning

    Olena Kurilo, whose blood-covered face has become an iconic image of the invasion of Ukraine, has vowed to ‘do everything for my motherland’ after she survived a Russian missile attack on Thursday morning

    Ms Kurilo managed to survive the missile strike on her home near Kharkiv, which is close to the Russian border

     Ms Kurilo managed to survive the missile strike on her home near Kharkiv, which is close to the Russian border















    Russia on Thursday morning launched simultaneous attacks from the south, east and north, by land and by air, minutes after Putin gave an extraordinary address to the nation in which he declared a ‘special military operation’ to ‘de-militarise’ and ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine in what amounted to an outright declaration of war.

    Since then Russia‘s war with Ukraine has intensified as Putin‘s forces launched a brutal pincer movement around the capital of Kyiv.

    Russian forces continued their brutal offensive into Ukraine today as they circled the capital city Kyiv.

    The schoolteacher has a keen passion for all things natural (pictured here holding a grapevine)

    The schoolteacher has a keen passion for all things natural (pictured here holding a grapevine)

    Russian forces continued their brutal offensive into Ukraine today as they circled the capital city Kyiv

    Russian forces continued their brutal offensive into Ukraine today as they circled the capital city Kyiv















    The Ukrainian military – joined by civilians who answered the call to arms – positioned themselves ready for the onslaught.

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Vladimir Putin plans to encircle Ukrainian forces in Kyiv and force them to either surrender or be destroyed, and the leadership of Ukraine could then fall in a week.

    A former senior US intelligence officer told Newsweek: ‘After the air and artillery end and the ground war really starts, I think Kyiv falls in just a few days. 

    After a missile strike hit her home she said she 'never thought that this would truly happen in my lifetime' as, her voice catching in her throat, she described the damage to her 'completely destroyed' house

    Olena Kurilo

    After a missile strike hit her home she said she ‘never thought that this would truly happen in my lifetime’ as, her voice catching in her throat, she described the damage to her ‘completely destroyed’ house

    Speaking with a heavily bandaged face outside her destroyed home in Chuguev, Kharkiv, in the northeast of Ukraine, on Thursday, she said she was 'very lucky'

    Speaking with a heavily bandaged face outside her destroyed home in Chuguev, Kharkiv, in the northeast of Ukraine, on Thursday, she said she was ‘very lucky’

    On Thursday she said she 'must have a guardian angel' to have survived the attack in northeastern Ukraine

    On Thursday she said she ‘must have a guardian angel’ to have survived the attack in northeastern Ukraine








    Firemen extinguish a fire inside a residential building in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv after it was hit by a missile strike early on Friday morning

    Firemen extinguish a fire inside a residential building in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv after it was hit by a missile strike early on Friday morning

    Rifles were also handed out to civilians and volunteers as President Zelensky urged any European willing to defend the country to travel to Ukraine and join in the defence

    Rifles were also handed out to civilians and volunteers as President Zelensky urged any European willing to defend the country to travel to Ukraine and join in the defence

    Widespread damage is seen to apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine, with a Russian assault on the capital expected to take place today

    Ukrainian soldiers are pictured forming up across a highway in Kyiv as they prepare to defend the city from Russian attackers, with gunfire and explosions heard in the centre of the capital

    ‘The military may last slightly longer but this isn’t going to last long.’  

    A source close to the Ukrainian government said they agreed that Kyiv will be surrounded within 96 hours but believed the government will stay strong and not collapse.

    In a bid to thwart the imminent capture of the city, Emmanuel Macron spoke to Vladimir Putin on Thursday night, who gave the French leader an ‘exhaustive’ explanation of his justification for war.  

    The Kremlin said the call took place at Macron’s initiative, and he and Putin agreed to stay in contact. 

    Volodymyr Zelensky, 44, the president of Ukraine, has also signed a decree on the general mobilisation of the population within 90 days, but men aged 18-60 are banned from leaving the country.