Russia's '140-kill sniper couple'
Russia’s ‘140-kill sniper couple’: Captured female marksman who has taken 40 lives is married to rebel commander who claims to have shot more than 100 Ukrainians
- Irina Starikova, 41, was found wounded and captured by Ukrainian forces
- She is said to be a notorious sniper with as many as 40 kills in fighting in Ukraine
- It has been revealed today that she is married to 43-year-old Alexander Ogrenich
- Ogrenich – aka Gorynych (Slavic dragon) – has headed a separatist ‘intelligence unit’ from around 2014, and claims to have killed over 100 Ukrainians in fighting
An elite female pro-Russian sniper who has killed over 40 people is married to a rebel commander who claims to have shot more than 100 Ukrainians, it has been revealed.
It was reported this week that Irina Starikova, 41, was captured by Ukrainian forces after being injured in fighting. The notorious mother of two was operating in the the separatist Donbas region and is said to have over 40 kills. Her fate is unknown.
It has now emerged that she is married to 43-year-old Alexander Ogrenich – aka Gorynych (Slavic dragon) – who was on the run from Belarus, wanted for a string of convictions, and has previously served time in jail.
In the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, he headed a separatist ‘intelligence unit’ from around 2014, and claims to have killed over 100 Ukrainians in fighting.
This means that between them, the battle-hungry couple – that were recently pictured together relaxing ‘between kills’ – claim they have taken over 140 lives.
An elite female Russian sniper who killed 40-plus but has been captured by Ukrainians is seen in pictures relaxing between her kills (second right). It has been revealed today that she is married to 43-year-old Alexander Ogrenich – aka Gorynych (second left), who claims to have killed 100 Ukrainians in fighting in the separatist Donbas region of the country
‘Yes, I’ve killed a lot,’ Ogrenich said in one interview. ‘The figure is over one hundred. And if you could see the enemy in the scope, what would you do?’
He sees his enemy as ‘Ukrainian fascists’, parroting propaganda by Russian president Vladimir Putin who claims his forces are ‘denazifying’ Ukraine.
A video has shown the couple on a ‘day off’ from killing in 2016.
‘Today is our day off and because today is our six-month anniversary,’ he said. ‘I decided to give you a big present. I love you very much.
‘Today you and I will have a rest, and tomorrow, as always.’
Starikova replied: ‘Same as always. Service is service.’
He told her: ‘And anyway, you see how great things are between us….’
‘And will be better,’ she said.
He told her: ‘The war will end and it will be even better.’
The female sniper with 40 kills to her name was reportedly captured in Ukraine after being wounded in a battle with Kyiv’s forces
Pictured: Alexander Ogrenich, codename Gorynych, husband of sniper Irina Starikova wields a RPG launcher with a grin. He claims he has killed 100 Ukrainians in fighting in Donbas
He has previously admitted that before the current war civilians on both sides of a demarcation line were caught in attacks by the pro-Russians he fought alongside.
He said in an interview with a Belarus news site six years ago: ‘Of course, peaceful people are suffering. We cannot be perfect. It happens when there is a mass strike – well, you can’t get away from it, you know yourself that this is war.
‘There are casualties through our fault too, I won’t deny it. If it wasn’t for Russia, we would all be dead here.’
Ogrenich also admitted he had a criminal record before fleeing Belarus to the Donbas. ‘I won’t hide it, I have convictions. I was convicted for theft and fraud,’ he said in one interview.
He did not comment on a claim he had committed murder in a ‘crime if passion’.
‘You know, like fraud – I took money, said that I would give it back, but I didn’t. That kind of thing. All in all I spent eight years in prison,’ he said.
His whereabouts are not currently clear.
Both Ogrenich and Starikova been married previously before their wedding in around 2015.
The female sniper is originally from Donetsk and has two daughters – Valeria, 11, and Yulia, nine. In pictures yesterday, she was shown in images relaxing with her husband and other soldiers.
Pictured left: Alexander Ogrenich – aka Gorynych (Slavic dragon) and right: Irina Starikova, code-named Bagheera. It has been revealed that the pair are married
Irina Starikova (circled), 41, is codenamed Bagheera, after Rudyard Kipling’s black panther in The Jungle Book. Here she is seen holding the hand of her husband, Alexander Ogrenich
The mother-of-two was found wounded on a battlefield in Ukraine, but she is not from Serbia as some accounts say, nor was she a nun-turned-sniper.
Similar identities explain the confusion due to another female sniper with the same code-name from Serbia, although she is not believed to be engaged in fighting in Ukraine at the moment.
The captured sniper is originally from Donetsk and has two daughters – Valeria, 11, and Yulia, nine.
Her fate is now in Ukrainian hands but what has happened to her is unknown amid claims she had ‘the blood of at least 40 people on her hands, including civilians’.
Anyone ‘who kills peaceful people on our land can expect retribution, said the Kyiv military. There are claims she was abandoned by her Russian protectors.
‘Knowing that I was injured and having the opportunity to pick me up, they simply decided to leave me there, hoping I would die,’ she is quoted as saying.
The Russian sniper and mother-of-two was found wounded on a battlefield in Ukraine, but she is not from Serbia as some accounts say
The captured sniper is originally from Donetsk and has two daughters – Valeria, 11, and Yulia, nine
In a devastating criticism of the Russian war tactics, she said: ‘They abandoned me.’
Soviet Russia famously deployed female snipers during the Second World War while other countries preferred to restrict women to factories or farming.
The most successful, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, was born near Kyiv and had 309 confirmed kills, giving her the nickname ‘Lady Death’.
A wound in 1942 stopped her active service and she became a celebrity and propagandist for the regime.
Most sharpshooters were graduates of the Central Women’s School For Sniping Training, near Moscow, commanded by female Spanish Civil War veterans. The combined efforts of the instructors and graduates are believed to have taken down 12,000 German troops during the war.
Another Russian female sniper, Yelizaveta Mironov, was only 17 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.
Local media claimed the sniper, who is said to be a mother-of-two and divorcee, is responsible for ‘killing 40 Ukrainians including civilians’
Born in Moscow, she had just finished high school when she volunteered to join the Red Army. Mironov fought in the sieges of Odessa and Sevastopol and had at least 34 kills to her name, although some sources claim she had more than 100.
Her comrades were particularly impressed with her exploits during five days of fierce fighting at Goryachiy Klyuch in October 1942 when the teenager is said to have killed more than 20 Germans. But she was seriously injured in the battle for Novorossiysk and died at the age of only 19.
Around 800,000 women served the Soviet Union during the war, including in roles such as pilots and machine gunners.
The activities of female Soviet fighters were also documented by Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich in her book The Unwomanly Face of War written in 1985.
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