It is better to die than to submit to Putin, says Ukranian woman who survived bomb attack

Olena Kurilo Courtesy: Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Olena Kurilo, a 52-year-old teacher who was injured when her Chuguiv home was bombed, is speaking out after images of her bloodied face became symbolic of the Russian attack on Ukraine and its civilians.

“I never thought that such a thing could happen. I never thought that this would truly happen in this lifetime,” she said in a video uploaded to Twitter by EuroNews. “We wrote poems about the war. I myself am a director, an educator; we studied the history but we never thought that this would happen on our land.”

“The house is completely destroyed, there are no windows, no doors, one door even flew out. Even the floor has been completely ripped off,” she continued.

“I am just very lucky, I must have a very strong guardian angel for me to have stayed alive. I will stand up and go, I will do everything for Ukraine, as much as I can, with as much energy as I have. I will always only be on my motherland’s side,” Kurilo added.

“Never, under any conditions will I submit to Putin. It is better to die,” she said via AFP and the Times of Israel, adding, “I was in shock, I felt no pain,” after explosions rocked her neighborhood.

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Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues after the country was invaded on Feb. 24, with forces moving from the north, south and east. Details of the attack and the fighting change by the day, but this is the first major land conflict in Europe in decades — and hundreds have already been reported dead or wounded, including children.

In addition to those who’ve died and were wounded in the war, thousands more people have fled or tried to escape Ukraine amid warnings of a possible “refugee crisis.”

The invasion, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has drawn widespread condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia.

Various countries have also pledged aid or military support to Ukraine as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded for peace talks and urged his country to resist.

Putin insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia and he is acting in the interest of so-called “peacekeeping.”

“The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine,” President Joe Biden said as the invasion began in force.

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