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.
Sniper Irina Starikova has been captured by Ukrainian forces
Starikova says she was left to die by her comrades
The deadly killer is a mum-of-two
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.
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.
Starikova’s capture was also confirmed by Giorgi Revishvili, a researcher at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.
He tweeted that “Ukrainian forces captured infamous sniper fighting on the side of ORDLO, call sign Bagira” referring to the name Kyiv gives to the breakaway Russian-speaking regions.
Revishvili added reportedly she is responsible for “killing 40 Ukrainians including civilians”.
According to reports, Starikova is originally from Serbia and has been hunted by the Ukrainians since 2014.
Ukraine’s Obozrevatel news website quotes a soldier named Vlad Ivanov who said that Starikova was provided with medical treatment when captured.
She is quoted as saying that “they left, knowing that I was injured and had the opportunity to pick me up…hoping that I would die”.
Starikova was a sniper of 11th Specialized Special Operations Division, it was claimed.
According to the Peacemaker centre, she has been awarded the George Cross medal for her work.
The researchers also say she is married to a soldier from Belarus called Aleksandr Ogrenich.
According to a 2017 report from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, he goes by the call sign Gorynych and also fights for the Russian separatists armed forces.
Russia supported the separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine during a conflict which killed more than 14,000 people in seven years.
The open conflict was triggered by the Ukrainian Revolution in 2014 – when an uprising overthrew the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych.