Former Brazilian model, nurse, and sniper Thalita do Valle, who had joined the Ukrainian forces to fight against Russia alongside her brother, was among the dead after a bombardment in Kharkiv, it was confirmed by family members Thursday.
There were Russian attacks and the battalion split up. Thalita took refuge in the bunker and died on June 30 from asphyxiation, not from the bombs, said the 39-year-old woman's brother, Theo Rodrigo Vieira, who added that the sister sent messages from the front practically every day.
The former Brazilian model was a lifeguard and sniper and was also responsible for covering soldiers during Russian ground attacks. Thalita had been a model as a young woman before studying law.
In recent years the former model had participated in a mission against the Islamic State in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. From there she narrated her experience on social media and on her Youtube channel. In Iraq, she received training and became an elite sniper. She eventually joined the ranks of the peshmerga, the Kurdish armed forces that fought against the Islamic State. She also worked with charities.
He received training and did the necessary courses to go to the front line. However, when she joined the Kurdish army she specialized in precision shooting, with long guns. Thalita was from the female army and was part of a front line with elite snipers, her brother said.
Her vocation was to save lives, participating in humanitarian missions, Vieira explained. He added his sister had arrived in Ukraine three weeks ago. Then she was sent to Kharkiv, which is no longer under direct Russian attack but is frequently shelled from across the border.
Do Valle died along with fellow Brazilian volunteer Douglas Búrigo in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on June 30, it was also reported.
Thalita also participated in several rescue operations in Brazil, such as the Mariana tragedy, which caused a score of deaths after a dam burst in Minas Gerais in 2015, or the one in the city of Petrópolis, hit by heavy rains that caused more than 200 deaths last February.
Do Valle had arrived in Ukraine only three weeks ago to join the army in its fight against the Russian invasion. She last communicated with her relatives on June 27, her brother recalled. When we talked on the phone I wanted to know everything, but she said she couldn't talk much because activities on the phone were being monitored by Russian drones. She would call just to let me know she was okay, he recounted.