Brazilian volunteer fighter killed in Ukraine

7 July, 03:00 PM
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Former Brazilian model, activist, and most recently a volunteer fighter in Ukraine’s International Legion, Thalita Do Valle used to be a sniper in Iraq (Photo:Newsflash)

Former Brazilian model, activist, and most recently a volunteer fighter in Ukraine’s International Legion, Thalita Do Valle used to be a sniper in Iraq (Photo:Newsflash)

Former Brazilian model, activist, and most recently a volunteer fighter in Ukraine’s International Legion, Thalita Do Valle was killed by a Russian missile strike at a bunker in Kharkiv on June 30, Brazilian media have reported.

She died alongside another compatriot of hers, Brazilian army veteran Douglas Burgio.

There are no details available yet about the attack from official sources.

Do Valle’s and Burgio’s family members say their battalion came under heavy Russian fire near Kharkiv on June 30.

“Thalita went to the bunker,” Do Valle’s brother Theo Rodrigo Vieira told The Daily Mail on July 6.

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“There was already a fire and the bunker collapsed with her inside. Her friend returned to save her in the interval between the bombing and ended up dead. She died of asphyxiation; she wasn't hit by shrapnel.”

 According to Vieira, his sister left for Ukraine three weeks prior. “She said she’s going to Poland to work as an emergency worker, to help people leave the war-torn country,” he told Brazilian news outlet Folha do Sao Paolo.

 “Shortly afterward, she headed to the conflict zone (in Ukraine).”

 The next time Do Valle spoke with her relatives, she was already near Kharkiv.

“I wanted to know everything during our phone conversations,” Vieira recalls.

“But she said she can’t divulge much, since the Russians are tapping the mobile network. She only said she was alright.”

Vieira spoke with his sister for the last time on June 27. Burgio’s family said the Brazilian embassy in Ukraine informed them of Burgio’s tragic death.

The account of the incident was confirmed by lieutenant Sandro Carvalho Da Silva, who leads the International Legion squad.

“During one of the short moments of respite, we ran out of the shelter and moved to another location,” said Da Silva.

“Thalita couldn’t escape due to the fire. Douglas ran back to help her out, but also became trapped there.”

Before venturing to fight against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Do Valle fought with Kurdish forces against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, in 2019.

“When she joined the Kurdish military, she specialized in sniper rifles,” Vieira said.

“She was a hero; saving lives and protecting humanitarian missions was her calling.”

Prior to leaving for Iraq, Do Valle was studying to become a lawyer, hoping to work to advocate migrant and refugee rights.

At the age of 18, she had a brief modeling career.

@thazinhaaaaaaaaaa Quando vc acha que está cansada...😃😎⚔️ #Ukraine #batalion ♬ Woman - Doja Cat

Media reports about Brazilian volunteers fighting against the Russian invasion in eastern Ukraine first appeared in April.

It’s unclear how many Brazilian nationals currently serve in the International Legion.

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