Evgenia Emerald could hear the unmistakable buzz of a drone circling lazily overhead as she lay on the ground perfectly still, buried in the deep brush of an undisclosed part of Ukraine. She quietly whispered to the reporter by her side, “It’s trying to find us.” 

Emerald, as her friends call her, knows all too well what will come next if it finds her; incoming artillery. It’s happened many times before to this seasoned though perhaps unlikely, sniper.

Newsy’s Jason Bellini met with Emerald in her blacked-out Kyiv apartment with no electricity to learn the story of Ukraine’s “lady death.” It’s a fascinating tale of lives lost, loves found, and new life yet to be. Screenshot from YouTube and Newsy.

It seems she was born to do this. As a young girl, she enjoyed dressing up in kid-sized Army uniforms, and her dad bought her a toy gun almost as big as she was.

Emerald as a little girl ready for action. Screenshot from YouTube and Newsy.

She most certainly was comfortable handling weapons as she grew up.

In this family photo, we see Ukraine’s Joan of Arc (far left) proudly gripping a shotgun. Screenshot from YouTube and Newsy.

In her university years, Emerald pondered a military career and excelled in a program somewhat analogous to ROTC here in the United States.

Here she is, during her college years. Throughout her life, she seemed to always have a weapon at the ready. Screenshot from YouTube and Newsy.

Following graduation, she chose civilian life over the armed forces and started a successful jewelry business. Yes, that is her modeling her creations in the photo below.

As it turns out, “Emerald” is just a nickname. This shot is taken from her business site. Check it out and see what she has to offer. Guys, she designs and sells some pretty cool knives as well.

Emerald continued running her business right up until a few days after the Russian invasion, when the Ukrainian Army contacted her. “Evgenia, we need you,” she recalls them saying. And that’s all it took. The unit Emerald began fighting with was almost completely made up of men. “Just me and a lot of men,” she says. She also notes that they were always respectful.

During her interview, the Newsy reporter asked her how many people she had killed, and I cringed a bit. No soldier wants to be asked that question. Emerald deflected the inquiry, stating that she never talks about that. She would, however, talk about her worst day in combat. Last spring, the Russians attacked her unit in a village north of Kharkiv and killed a number of her friends. They were just down the road ahead of her, and she could see them die. Her mentor, the man who taught her to be a sniper, died in the attack. “I cried every day after that for about two months,” she said. But that did not stop her from fighting. As she says, “I had a thirst for revenge.”.